Hematological Changes Associated with Illicit Drug Abuse in A City of Northern Nigeria

Amos Dangana, Idris Abdullahi Nasir, Jessy Thomas Medugu, Anthony Uchenna Emeribe


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Several illicit drugs have been linked to derangement of many hematological indices which can lead to host tissues and / or organs dysfunctions.The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of different psychoactive substances on hematological parameters of study subjects.

METHOD: The study included 200 substance abusers and 50 non-substance abusers comprising of 235 males and 15 females. All subjects were investigated routinely using hematological tests and urine toxicology parameters to assess the effects of psychoactive substance use. These subjects were grouped according to type of drug, and duration of substances they abuse. An association between urine toxicology results and changes in hematological parameters was evaluated for statistical significance.

RESULTS: There was statistical association between the number of substances abused with gender (p = 0.0169) but not with age of subjects (p = 0.9639). Findings from this study showed significant difference between certain hematological parameters of non-substance users (NSU) and specific groups of substance abusers. The packed cell volume and eosinophil counts were significantly higher in substance abusers with increase in number of drug abuse compared to NSU (p = 0.02 and p = 0.0008 respectively). There was no statistically significant correlation between duration of substance abuse and hematological parameters studied.

CONCLUSION: Illicit substance abuse predisposes individuals to eosinophilia and relative increase in PCV. There is a need to promote awareness on the health related effects associated with illicit substance abuse.


Substance Addiction; Psychoactive Drugs; Hematology

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