newspaper coverage pf drug abuse in nigeria a study three selected news papers


The purpose of the study was to investigate newspaper coverage of drug abuse in Nigeria. The study sought to provide valuable information on the extent to which the print media has given prominence to drug abuse and suggest recommendations to curb the problem of drug abuse. The objectives of the study sought to assess contributions that have been put forward by print media to stop drug and substance abuse, assess the nature of media coverage in terms of number of articles, their size, article type, placement and prominence, point out weaknesses in the media coverage of the various factors associated with increase in drug abuse scourge and find out the main subject focused on in the articles. The research used content analysis and the data was analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively and it involved the use of tables, bar graphs and pie charts aimed at condensing the data collected. In the study, it was found out that drug abuse has not been given prominence by the newspapers in Benue state and this is because most of the articles published were short items and they appeared on the inside page of the newspapers. This means that only a few people read such items. Therefore, the researcher concluded that print media has not given drug abuse prominence. This calls for concerted efforts between key media stakeholders to conduct aggressive campaigns to sensitize the public on drug abuse and its effects. The government should come up with a comprehensive policy on drug abuse.



Drug abuse has since been recognized as global problem that bother every country in the world today. Different nations across the world including Nigerians abuse the use of drugs and large percentage of these users are our youth in various institution of learning. A drug has been define as any substances that when aborted into a living organism may modify one or more of its physiological functions (Croen, Woener, Harm and Reichgott 1997). The term is generally used in reference to a substance taken for therapeutic purpose and as abused substances (Kwamanga, Hiombo and Amukoye, 2003).

United states of America (USA) study further revealed that excessive illicit drug use rate among high school students and young adults increase with age with a prevalence rate 19.60/0 between the age of 18-20 years as indicated in Kwananga, etal (2003). A quotation from the (substance Abuse and mental Health service Administration (SAMHSA) 1997 in the USA.

According to the United Nation Officer on Drugs and Crime (UNODC-Wito,2005 world Drug Report, 2005), some 200million people or 50/0 of the total world’s population age between 1.5 and 64 years have used drugs.

The report further says that no nation has been immune to the devastating effects of the drug abuse. The officer of the national agency for the campaign against drug abuse (NACACA, 2004B) commissioned the first ever national baseline survey on the abuse of alcohol and other drugs in Nigeria in 2001. The study targeted Nigerian youth aged between 10-24 years. The report which was released in 2002 revealed that substances abuse, both illicit and licit was forming a culture amongst Nigerian youth. Drug abuse among the youth especially in secondary schools has endangered their lives and this has caused a lot concern as the vice indeed has been identified as major causes of problems experienced in secondary schools in Nigerian (Gikonyo, 2005). The United Nations international drug control programme (world drug report 2000) ranked Nigeria among the four African nations notorious for either consumption or manufacture of narcotics in the world.

In Nigerian studies have consistently shown that there is considerable prevalence of drugs and substances use, with varying prevalence rate found for both overall and specific drugs and substances abuse (Abdulkarim, Mokuolu  and Adeniyi, 2005). According to Adelekan,Makanjuola, Nelom, fayeye and Amusan (2005)   student may start using illegal drugs because the drugs are available from their schools. School related factors can also influence students to drug use (Ngesuetal, 2008) how the school administration manages student affairs may led to drug abuse. Prevalence of drug use and abuse are therefore major public health problem in the young adults, especially among the secondary school students.

Previous studies show that more than a fifth (22.7%) of primary school children takes alcohol, and also a figure that rises to more than three-quates (68%) of students at the university or other tertiary learning institution in Nigeria take alcohol (siririgi and waihenaya 2001);ngesuetal (2008) Otieno and Offulla (2009). Therefore, a large number of students across all age groups have been exposed to alcohol, tobacco, miraa, glues sniffing, marijuana and even hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

1.1     Background of the study

Most media campaigns focused on college, students drinking which have been campus based, using a mix of posters, flyers, electronic mail messages and college newspaper advertisements. More recently, a few regional, state and national media campaigns have begun to address this issue as well.

Therefore, this study is out to make a study on three selected newspaper on their coverage against drug abuse.

1.1.1 The voice newspaper

The Benue printing and publishing corporation publisher of the voice and Sunday voice newspaper emerged from the defined Benue –plateau printing and publishing corporation and the government printing department.

The Benue state executive council had its conclusion dabet march 3,1977 approved the establishment of the corporation, the establishment was made by the amendment of the Benue plateau printing and publishing corporation edict no 6 of 1972 to the Benue state edict no 1 of 1976.

The responsibility of corporation was to operate news and feature service to encourage good administration, effective promotion and commitment to the interest of Benue people to defend the state its government and its indigenes scurrilous attack from any quarter.

To give publicity to and encourage the art and industries of the state to serve as a forum for a meeting of the mind and exchange of ideas between government and the people, finally to uphold the secularity of the entire nation, the industry engages in the publication of Sunday voice, weekend express, and voice sport apart from the daily edition of the voice and commercial jobs being carry out, the page of now the voice was increased from eight to sixteen and column from four-six while the Sunday voice weekend express and voice sport all published weekly maintain the same pages and column respectively.

At the time of the research the industry publishes only  the voice and Sunday voice edition, other are off the newsstand plans were put in place  as early as AUGUST 1,1985 to change the status of the corporation to thus of a limited liability company, in 1992 the REV Fr MOSES ADASU administration actualized this dream, however the company never assumed that status and march 14, 1992the company was closed down because the operation of the company was at a loss, staff were retrenched in  the process while other were on compulsory leave and yet other willingly resigned their appointment ironically, the edition of the voice newspaper was of the newsstand in march 1995 and reappeared in December, 1996 the daily edition  is now published on Wednesday and Friday –weekly while the Sunday voice is published on Sunday the voice have super lithographic until, modern computer section an equipped art studies web and modern printing machine with colour facilities it has also edition and department , which serve as nerve center of the industry or organization other include administration commercial, technical and financial.

Staff strength of the organization is not static at contain period ,they had on heir pay roll 120 staff at other 100.

1.1.2 The Pavilion newspaper

The pavilion newspaper is a privately owned newspaper industry it made its debit in February 1997 having two directors and nine staff with a staff  of strength of nine the aimed and objectives of the company is to promote developmental, marketing and production .

The pavilion newspaper is published forth nighty in 16pages and serve column respectively with about 1,00 copies forth nighty, Benue, Taraba, and Nasarawa states are the intended target audience of the young newspaper distribution of the newspaper is done through commercial vehicles it has three freelances and no outsider on its edition board.

The company is currently carrying its printing jobs which include commercial jobs on contract basis to private printer this is to say that the company is yet to acquire its own printing machine it has.

1.2     Statement of research problem

The continuous abuse of drugs lead the researcher to embark on this study, so as to evaluate the extent at which the newspaper media is going about the incidence of drug abuse in the country, their coverage concerning drug abuse and drug addiction.The effects of drug abuse is detrimental not only to the individual but to the society as a whole. Yet this problem is on the increase especially among those in higher institution of learning. Which is a serious threat to our national sanctity.  How well can print media as a vehicle for information dissemination be relied upon to perform its role in the society, to join hand in the battle against drug abuse?

Drug abuse menace has strangle youthful population reducing them to dummies zombies and drooling figure as well as wasting their lives at the age which they are most needed in the society (Ngesu, Ndiku and Masese dangers 2008) Despite the worldwide concern and education about the of drug abuse most of the citizen have limited knowledge of how dangerous the habit is (Ngesuetal 2008).

1.3     Objectives of the study

· Main objective

The main objective of this research work is to examine and evaluate the coverage of the newspaper against drug abuse and analysis its impact it has create.

· Specific objective

The following are the specific objectives of the study:

1. To examine whether newspapers educate and enlighten the general public on drug abuse.

2. To know if newspapers awareness campaign on drug abuse have reduced the unlawful use of drug in our society.

3. To know the extent at which the media – newspaper have gone to, in educating and their coverage on drug abuse.

4. To know if newspapers contribute to drug abuse through advertisement and alcohol promo or not.

1.4 Research questions

The researcher formed some research question which the research work will answer and address in the course of this study.

1. Do the newspaper educate and enlighten the general public on drug abuse?

2. Has mass media awareness campaign on drug abuse reduced the unlawful use of drug in society?

3. Does newspaper promote drug abuse through advertisement and alcohol promo?

4. Does newspaper educate and enlighten the general public on the bad effects of drug abuse?

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