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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Taking alcohol by deception II: Paraga (alcoholic herbal mixture) use among commercial motor drivers in a south-western Nigerian city

Oluwadiya S Kehinde1* and Fatoye Femi Olusegun2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria

2 Department of Mental Health, College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:301  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-301

Published: 18 June 2012

Abstract

Background

Paraga, an alcoholic herbal preparation that comes in different varieties had been shown to be commonly available to commercial drivers in southern Nigeria. This study aims to determine the prevalence and pattern of paraga use, and to evaluate the level of awareness of the risks entailed in taking paraga among intercity commercial drivers operating out of motor parks in Osogbo, southwest Nigeria. We administered a locally validated version of the WHO drug and alcohol survey questionnaire to 350 commercial drivers.

Results

Of the 350 questionnaires administered, 332 were used for the data analysis; the remaining 18 were rejected because they had too many missing data. The prevalence rate in the past one year was 53.6% and 43.2% for the past one month (current). Three-quarters were moderate to heavy users, and many take the drug while working. A total of 25.6% had been involved in road crashes after taking paraga and 36.7% had actually seen people getting drunk from taking paraga. Only 40% of the drivers thought paraga use was harmful to their health, the others believing it to have therapeutic values (25%) or undecided (35.0%). Only 43.8% of the drivers would be willing to stop taking paraga.

Conclusions

Paraga use is popular among commercial drivers. Because of its alcoholic nature, drivers’ access to the concoction should be controlled and appropriate enforcement put in place.