attitude, psychiatric, nurses, Nigerian, substance


 Attitude of nurses to substance use clients could constitute major barriers to treatment. Anecdotal evidences show that some psychiatric ward nurses at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) and the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Makurdi may view substance use clients as being responsible for their clinical circumstances. They may exhibit an attitude that gives the impression that the clients are morally weak and have formed a bad habit which they are not prepared to do away with. The clients are seen as impossible for therapy. Consequently, the aims of this cross-sectional study were to provide knowledge on the attitude of psychiatric wards nurses to substance use clients and to find out factors that may determine such attitude. Comparison was also made between the two hospitals. An instrument consisting of sociodemographic variables and the Drug and Drug Problems Perceptions Questionnaire was administered on all nurses of both wards. Females made up 82.1% of the participants, 50% were above 45 years old while 89.3 were married. All of them practised Christianity and 60.7% of them were from UBTH. Sixty three point six percent of nurses from FMC had negative attitude while it was 47.1% for UBTH, the difference was not significant. Overall, 53.6% of the participants had a negative attitude. Only being a trained psychiatric nurse and being primarily interested in caring for substance use clients significantly differentiated nurses with positive attitude from those with negative attitude. Negative attitude towards substance use clients is not desirable as this would constitute a barrier to treatment and put client and society at risk of the adverse consequences of substance use. Trained psychiatric care nurses and nurses with interest in substance use disorder should provide care for substance use clients.  


Akinola, O.R. (2015). Mental Health Professionals' Attitude and Perception of their Role in Tackling Substance Abuse and Related Disorders in Nigeria. PhD. Walden University. Available at Accessed 10:02:17.

Au, G. (2006). A review of attitude of medical professionals toward substance abuse. In: International Conference on Tackling Drug Abuse. Hong Kong: The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Available at

Au.pdf. Accessed 07:02:17.

Bryan, A., Moran, R., Farrell, E., & O’Brien, M. (2000). Drug-Related Knowledge, Attitudes and Beliefs in Ireland:

Report of a Nation-Wide Survey. Dublin: The Health Research Board. Available at Accessed 29:12:16.

Chang, Y., & Yang, M. (2013). Nurses' Attitudes towards Clients with Substance Use Problems. Perspectives in

Psychiatric Care, 49(2), 94-102.

Crips, A. Gelder, M., Rix, S., Meltzer, H., & Rowlands, O. (2000). Stigmatisation of people with mental illnesses. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 177(1) 4-7.

Crothers, C., & Dorrian, J. (2011). Determinants of Nurses' Attitudes toward the Care of Patients with Alcohol

Problems. ISRN Nursing, 1-11.

Danda, M. (2012). Attitudes of Health Care Professionals towards Addictions Clients Accessing Mental Health

Services: What Do We Know and How Can this be used to Improve Care? Journal of Ethics in Mental Health, 7(1), 1-5.

Ewhrudjakpor, C. (2009). Knowledge, belief and attitude of health care providers towards the mentally ill in Delta

State, Nigeria. Ethno Med, 3, 19-25.

Fulton, R. (2001). The stigma of substance use and attitudes of professionals: A Review of the literature. [ebook]

Canada: The Committee on Stigma and Addictions, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Available at Accessed 08:02:17.

Gureje, O., Lasebikan, V., Oluwanuga, O.E., Oiley, B.O. & Kola, L. (2005). Community Study of Knowledge and

attitude to mental illness in Nigeria. Br J Psychiatry, 186, 436-441.

Gilchrist, G., Moskalewicz, J., Slezakova, S., Okruhlica, L., Torrens, M., Vajd, R., & Hohman, M., Finnegan, D., &

Clapp, J. D. (2008). A concurrent validation study of the Alcohol and Other Drug Identification (AODI) scale. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 8(3), 367-379.

Kalebka, R., Bruijns, S., & van Hoving, D. (2013). A survey of attitudes towards patient Substance abuse and

addiction in the Emergency Centre. African Journal of Emergency Medicine, 3(1), 10-17.

Maigari, B., Mosaku, S.K., Umar, N.J., Kever, R.T., Dalhatu, A. & Dathini, H. (2014). Nurses’ Knowledge and Attitude towards Care of Clients with Substance Abuse in Borno State, Nigeria. IOSR-JNHS, 3(5), 19-24.

Monks, R., Topping, A., & Newell, R. (2012). The dissonant care management of illicit drug users in medical wards, the views of nurses and patients: a grounded theory study. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 69(4), 935-946.

Rao, H., Mahadevappa, H., Pillay, P., Sessay, M., Abraham, A., & Luty, J. (2009). A study of stigmatized attitudes towards people with mental health problems among health professionals. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 16(3), 279-284.

Richmond, I., & Foster, J. (2003). Negative attitudes towards people with co-morbid mental health and substance

misuse problems: An investigation of mental health professionals. Journal of Mental Health, 12(4), 393-403.

Saxena, S., Jané-Llopis, E., & Hosman, C. (2006). Prevention of mental and behavioral disorders: implications for policy and practice. World Psychiatry, 5(1), 5-14.

Silins, E., Conigrave, K., Rakvin, C., Dobbins, T., & Curry, K. (2007). The influence of structured education and

clinical experience on the attitudes of medical students towards substance misusers. Drug and Alcohol Review, 26(2), 191-200.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes. (2013). World Drug Report. United Nations. Available at /2013/World_Drug_Report_2013.pdf.

Accessed 23:12:16.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes. (2015). World Drug Report. United Nations. Available at Accessed 02:01:17.

Van Boekel, L., Brouwers, E., van Weeghel, J., & Garretsen, H. (2014). Healthcare professionals’ regard towards

working with patients with substance use disorders: Comparison of primary care, general psychiatry and

specialist addiction services. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 134, 92-98.

Watson, H., Maclaren, W., & Kerr, S. (2007). Staff attitudes towards working with drug users: Development of the

Drug Problems Perceptions Questionnaire. Addiction, 102(2), 206-215.

WHO. (2010). Atlas on substance use: resources for the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders.

Geneva: World Health Organization. Available at Accessed 23:12:16.

WHO. (2017). WHO | Facts and figures. Available at Accessed


WHO. (2012). WHO | People with drug dependence need better access to health care. Available at

Accessed 22:12:16.