Main Article Content
Substance abuse among adolescents is a major public health issue globally and in Nigeria. Cultural traditions in Nigeria play a role in substance use from a young age during festivals and rites of passage. This paper examined how aspects of Nigerian culture and ceremonies may encourage substance abuse among the adolescents. A review of previous literature and health reports was conducted to identify commonly abused substances among Nigerian adolescents and cultural factors linked to their early uptake. Peer-reviewed studies were analyzed to understand impacts of substance abuse on physical, mental and social well-being. Potential strategies were outlined based on effective practices in other countries. Findings showed that: coming-of-age rituals, festival drinking customs, social expectations, and hospitality norms can pressure adolescents into substance abuse. Impacts include increased risks for injuries, diseases, mental health issues, poor academics and social dysfunction. Strategies included sensitizing communities, strengthening regulatory policies and developing youth diversion programs. The paper concludes that while cultural heritage holds significance, there is the need for collaborative public health efforts with traditional institutions to redefine practices that currently enable substance misuse and endanger adolescent futures.