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1.1       Background of the Study

Observations of successive generations have confirmed that human being applies one form of substance or the other to relieve pains or alter the state of consciousness. Nearly everyone has used one type of substance that influences the central nervous system in a bid to relieve bodily and mental anguish or to create excitement and it is no longer news that we are now operating in what has often been termed a “high society” or “drug culture”. (Davison & Neale, 2001)

Different substances are taken everywhere on daily basis in both rural and urban areas of our country, Nigeria. Some of the substances like the alcoholic drinks are being promoted by their manufacturers declaring huge gains without considering the dangerous implications of their products to the human body. Alcohol and other substances are generally well known depressants that slow down activities in the central nervous system, including the brain.

In the immediate, alcohol distorts the individual’s concentration, coordination and reduces the time it takes the individual to respond to any unexpected situation and this could lead to risk taking behaviour, accidents, falls, injury, other criminal behavior, or even, sudden death, as a result of  the reduction in the brain control of the response time. In the long run, continuous use of substance like alcohol, tobacco, coffee, marijuana etc, is a proven correlate with various health problems, like high blood pressure, liver cirrhosis, cardiac arrest etc (Carrao G Rubbiati L, Zambon A, Arico S., 2002), social problems like accident, criminal behaviour, problem in marriage (Leonard K.E., Rothbard J.C., 1999), and finally economic problems like low productivity, lost of man hour (Booth B.M.,Feng W., 2002).

It is now common in Nigeria for most people to use substances to stay awake like taking cola nuts as seen with security guards, office workers and students or drink coffee like bankers and office workers to stay alert throughout the day or nights, smoke cigarettes or consume alcoholic drinks for recreation after work, take aspirin to reduce pains. The observed widespread presence and use of different forms of substances in our society in recent time’s calls for concern about our workplaces especially because civil servants are part of this society, hence the puzzle this study intends to bring to light.

Again, countries of the world especially the developing nations struggle to meet the social need of its citizenry but are also faced with additional financial burden for combating drugs abuse and its attendant problems. The burden of combating substance related issues by countries of the world is enormous, the world body – United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) had reported spending huge amount in combating drug between 1998 and 1999 in all countries of the world as cited in Adesola (1998) and this amount excludes individual nation’s budgetary provisions for same purpose.

The reduction of this heavy financial burden constitutes one of the factors necessitating this study. Furthermore, global discourse in recent times on drug abuse and addiction is on the increase which may not be unconnected to globalization. This is believed to have promoted the easy movement of people and goods around the world and drugs cannot be exception as well as the continuous production of new types and modernization of old forms of substance all leading to the extra ordinary increase in the rate of drug dependence with the observable attendant effect watched on news, read on the internet or heard daily.

However, even with high burden of substance use to the society, perusal into literature has shown that contributions from the field of sociology to combat this problem are scarce (Olutola, 2012) especially as it relates to developing country, a gap this study is contributing to address. Finally, unethical and deviant work place behaviour is becoming a prevalent problem within organization in Nigeria and the world at large (Sajeet, 2013).

Sajeet  mentioned that a similar study estimates that between 33-75 % of all employees have at one time or the other in their work place indulged in deviant behaviours like theft, vandalism, fraud and sabotage as he cited (Harper, 1990), lying (Depaulo & De Paulo, 1989), spreading of rumour (Fox, Spector & Miles, 2001), withholding effort (Kidwell and Bennett, 1993) and absenteeism, (John, 1997).

Also in the same study citing (Robinson and Bennett, 1995), Sajeet mentioned that unethical and deviant workplace behaviours are dangerous conducts that go against workplace regulations and are considered to be harmful type of behaviour. The study also holds that the rate at which this behaviour is increasing and the lack of concern by organizations, requires the attention  scholars, organizations and other stakeholders which should be with vigor to mitigate this unwanted behaviours in the workplace, as he cited in (Fox, Spector & Miles, 2001; Fisher, 2003)

Another study confirms the above assertion that unethical behaviours by employees violate important or major organizational policies, rule and norms according to Robinson & Benneth, as cited in (Fagbohungbe, Akinbode, and Ayodeji, 2012),  these behaviours if not checked could undermine the wellbeing of the organization and or  it its constituent. Of all these behaviors like theft, sabotage, aggression, hulling, harassment, drug use, absenteeism violence, lateness to work, sleeping on duty etc, drug use has the highest consequences since it affects the organization- economically and the employee – socially, economically and medically.


1.2       Statement of the Problem

 Few decades ago, decorum and ethics were synonymous with the civil service to the extent that alcohol and other substance abuse were unwelcome, nonexistent or very limited. Illnesses related to substance abuse were not significant among civil servants. However, with the recent development drive of the Cross River State Government, moving from civil service state to a tourist destination in the country with different activities attracting visitors from all over the world to witness events like Calabar carnival, celebration of one full month of Christmas.

As well as two major breweries(Guinness and Nigeria Breweries) struggling for sponsorship rights of the Christmas events, there is no gain saying that alcohol and other substance abuse are on the increase in the state and the civil servants being a subset of this society may not be exempted. Also, result from a recent similar study of civil servants in other states in Nigeria by Oladimeji, Fawole, Nguku and Nsubuga (2014) showed the existence of high blood pressure among civil servants in Kaduna City which is attributed to harmful alcohol consumption, tobacco use and other unhealthy activities. 

Again, in another study of paid workers in Ilorin, Nigeria, the result showed that there is a high existence of hypertension among salary earners which included civil servants (Oghagbon, Okesina and Biliaminu, 2008). All these results confirm the fact that there is an increase in the disease traceable to alcohol consumption and other substances and the most affected are the developing countries (Rehm, Chisholm, Room and Lopez, 2006) .

Also, considering elsewhere in Africa, (Addo, Smeeth and Leon, 2009) in a similar study confirmed the prevalence of smoking among Ghana Civil servants and from America, Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) maintains that from a survey of all drug users, 74.8% are employed and active in their respective work places, furthermore, among American workers, between 10-20 % who die at work have a positive result when tested for drugs or alcohol (drugabuse.com, n.d.). 

Lastly deviant and unethical behaviours like corruption, lack of dedication to duty, lateness to duty, indiscipline, abandonment of one’s duty post have their causes partly correlated with alcohol and substance abuse are now noticed among civil servants in Nigeria. see Ananti and Umeifekwem (2012). Civil servants play significant roles in national development and many studies have revealed that unlike some decades ago, many civil servants today get involved in substance abuse.

This has led to unethical behaviour, ill health such as Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) which available studies have shown is the leading cause of adult mortality globally (WHO/WEF, 2008). Available statistics have showed that of the 60% of deaths caused by NCD in 2008, about 80% of them happened in developing countries which include Nigeria (WHO/WEF, 2008). Hypertension alone which is one type of NCD is responsible for 27% of all deaths in Nigeria in 2008(Oladimeji et al., 2014) and the overall deaths from NCDs are estimated to increase by 17% between 2005- 2015 (WHO/WEF, 2008). Considering the important role of civil servants in our society, the problem of this study is to map out the mitigation strategies to reverse this ugly trend.

1.3       Research Questions  

            The following research questions were formulated to guide the study;

  1. To what extent is substance abuse present among civil servants in Cross River state?
  2. Which substances are mostly abused by civil servants?
  3. What is the relationship between substance abuse and gender among the civil servants?
  4. What are the major reasons for substance abuse by civil servants?
  5. What are the implications, of substance abuse on civil servants and their respective organizations?
  6. What are the mitigation strategies to address substance abuse among civil servants?

1.4       Objectives of the Study

The general objective of this study is to investigate the prevalence or extent of substance abuse among civil servants and specifically, the objectives of the research are:

  1. To substantiate the extent of substance abuse among civil servants
  2. To ascertain the relationship between substance abuse and gender among the civil servants.
  3. To identify substance mostly abused by civil servant
  4. To establish the major reasons for substance abuse by civil servants.
  5. To determine the implications of substance abuse on civil servants and their respective organizations
  6. To establish strategies to mitigate the problems of substance abuse among civil servants.

1.5       Significance of the Study

In recent years, the problem of substance abuse has received a considerable attention especially by the relevant stake holders. Recent scholarly works have shown that studies in this field have yielded insight into both the causes and consequences of substance dependence.  But often the explanations are pharmacological/medical model, psychological theories of behavior or methods. Theoretically, this study will significantly add to the existing perspective through the use of relevant sociological cum criminological methods to investigate and interpret the problem of substance abuse.

Practically, it is hoped that the report of the study in this hidden activity of substance abuse will be for the overall benefits of the substance abusers, the employers, and the society in general since the findings and recommendations will produce mitigating strategies that will address substance abuse among civil servants.

In addition the recommendations will contribute to the formulation/implementation of more proactive polices on drug use in workplaces which are currently lacking  especially in most organizations in Nigeria and this will culminate into a better economic, social and healthy values for our society.

1.6       Operationalization of Terms

Alcoholic Drink: This refers to those drinks with a significant amount of the psychoactive ethanol (casually referred to as alcohol). This is the most commonly used recreational drug globally; in most culture, this drink plays an important social role..

Civil Servants: This refers to office workers who are most times highly skilled, college educated and are always paid monthly salaries.  They are mainly non manual workers. They include teachers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, office administrators, office workers excluding military personnel etc.

Illicit Drugs: This refers to substances that are not permitted to be used by law of a particular society e.g. marijuana, heroin, cocaine etc

Licit Drug:  This refers to substances which their use is permitted by law e.g. Tobacco and alcohol.

Substances Abuse:  This refers to the use of licit or illicit drug in a ways that deviate from the norm of its usage in a group or society if the self administration is judged to be harmful or excessive.  It can also be referred to as the use of any substance that can impair a person’s judgment, clarity and functioning e.g. excessive drinking of alcohol, use of illegal substance like marijuana. In the context of this research work, coming to work drunk or high as well as drinking at work including during breaks and lunch, are all forms of workplace substance abuse.

Non Communicable Disease (NCD): This refers to medical condition or diseases that are by definition non-infectious and non transmissible among people. Currently they are the leading cause of death and disease burden worldwide. The four main types included cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung disease and diabetes.



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