Drug abuse still a bad commentary
SIR: During this year 2022 celebration of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, or World Drug Day, marked on June 26 every year, it was reported that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) among other things addressed transnational drug challenges stemming from situations of crisis; and advocated more protection of the right to health for the most vulnerable, including children and youth; people using drugs; people with drug use disorders; and people who need access to controlled medicines.
Back here in Nigeria, the situation says something strange and dangerous. The Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Brig-General Mohamed Buba Marwa, while speaking on the push to rehabilitate victims of drug use, says operatives of the NDLEA have on several occasions apprehended politicians in possession of illegal drugs.
Under this condition, it may be thought audacious to talk of creating a better society –particularly as we are still battling with the problems of a battered economy arising from corruption, social vices and decay of institutions. Statistics show that the youths-majorly males with a sprinkle of females remain undefeated in this act. From secondary to tertiary institutions, from Internally Displaced Camps to slum communities, the situation remains the same.
Secondly, living with an active drug abuser – for example, a husband automatically makes the wife a passive substance abuser, of which the adverse effect resulting from such an arrangement in most cases appears more pronounced on the passive abuser.
By reports, the three main forms of drug abuse are the use of; mood-altering or psycho-active drugs, performance-enhancing drugs and dependency drugs. While mood-altering or psychoactive drugs such as Codeine, tramadol affect people’s reasoning ability and give the abuser wrong sense of wellbeing, performance-enhancing drugs such as cocaine, heroin give extra stamina or energy to the abuser. Dependency drugs on its part typify drugs people abuse in the course of trying to overcome some health issues or challenges or taken to maintain a particular lifestyle.
What the government is doing regarding the problem is but a palliative, which only relieves temporal distress, but leaves the disease and its ravages unaffected. Re-orientation on our cultural values by faith-based organizations and the civil society groups will assist the youths to drop illicit consumption of drugs and unwholesome behaviours that endanger their lives and threaten the society.
Parents and guardians must strive to influence which people capture their children’s imaginations and always be aware of who their friends are and what places they visit. Youths on their part must recognize that ‘the future is full of promises as it is fraught with uncertainty. And should, therefore, develop the capacity to seek activities laced with highest values
• Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos.