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“It worked for my friend”: non-medical use of tramadol among manual labourers in Anambra state, Nigeria

Chidozie Edwin Nwafor (Department of Psychology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria)
Chukwuemeka Felix A. Okoye (Department of Psychology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria)
Nelson I. Nwankwo (Department of Psychology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria)
Paschal Chukwuma Ugwu (Department of Psychology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria)

Drugs, Habits and Social Policy

ISSN: 2752-6739

Article publication date: 11 July 2023

Issue publication date: 28 November 2023

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the dynamics involved in the non-medical use of tramadol among manual labourers in Nigeria.

Design/methodology/approach

Using the phenomenological approach, we conducted in-depth interviews with forty (40) manual labourers (age: 19–36 years). These participants were selected through purposive and snowball sampling techniques from two cities in Anambra state, Nigeria, and the data was analysed with thematic analysis.

Findings

The results revealed that most of the participants were introduced to tramadol use by their friends. They used tramadol for pain relief, euphoric feeling, energy for work and sexual performance. Unfortunately, most of them may have gradually become dependent on this drug to function well in life without knowing the possible medical and psychological implications.

Research limitations/implications

The sample choice may limit the generalization of the findings; however, the study indicates a need to improve working condition, access to healthcare and awareness of the negative effects of non-medical use of tramadol.

Originality/value

Non-medical use of tramadol may have started as an attempt to help self in performing the daily routine. This action can jeopardize an individual’s mental health and, at the extreme state, hinder performance of daily routine. Friends and the quality of information they provide play a significant role in the onset of this action. The strong point is that many people who are involved in the non-medical use of tramadol are unaware of the possible risks. Improving working conditions and access to healthcare for chronic pain could help reduce these risks.

Keywords

Citation

Nwafor, C.E., Okoye, C.F.A., Nwankwo, N.I. and Ugwu, P.C. (2023), "“It worked for my friend”: non-medical use of tramadol among manual labourers in Anambra state, Nigeria", Drugs, Habits and Social Policy, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 285-295. https://doi.org/10.1108/DHS-11-2022-0044

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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