FEATURES: Why drug addiction is rampant among youths
Why drug addiction is rampant among youths
Writer: Ahmed Ubandoma
A lady, simply identified as Hauwa, 20, recently confessed that she had been a victim of drug addiction due to some challenges she faced in her family.
Hauwa, from Samaru, Zaria Local Government of Kaduna State, however said that although she did not like the development, she found it difficult to quit the addiction easily.
“`I feel excited and carried away whenever I take drugs such as cough syrup by over dosage because it makes me to forget the bad experience I have in life, especially with my step-mother,’’ she said.
Hauwa said that it was frequent maltreatment she suffered from her step-mother that forced her to run-away from home after the death of her mother in 2015.
Similarly, Farouq Danjuma, 22, an indigene of Lafia Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, said he became a drug addict as a result of a broken family.
“I am a victim of a broken home, my parents divorced when I was eight years old and I have to continue to live with my father who married another wife.
“My step-mother treated me badly to the extent that she made my father to hate me by molesting me always.
“My father would do nothing to protect me and I was forced to stay away from the house most of the time to hang out with friends I made in our neighbourhood.
“They introduced me to drugs, starting with cigarettes and moving to harder drugs, cough mixture with codeine and other psychotropic substances’’ Danjuma said.
Concerned Nigerians, therefore, note that the stories of Hauwa and Danjuma indicate that drug addiction is rampant among the youth, especially in the northern part of the country.
They observe further that if drug addiction is not properly checked among young persons, its effects will be grim on future generations.
They also observe that the youth habitually use codeine-laced cough syrup, solvents and powerful horse stimulants, which they note has become trendy, even among married women.
However, most analysts attribute the increase in the numbers of drug addicts to lack of good parental guidance while some believe that poverty is responsible for the increase.
For those that believe in poor guidance as the reason for increase, they note that parental upbringing of a child played a significant role on his or her ability to engage in drug abuse.
In their opinions, drug addiction is promoted by different family problems such as divorce, poverty, cultural influence, parental neglect, lack of parental affection and responsibility.
Whatever reasons given for drug addiction, Mr Abdulhamid Shuaibu, a lecturer in the Department of Sociology of University of Abuja, said drug addiction destroyed the future of the youth and the country.
“It is a silent killer because many parents of the victims tend to hide the problem from the public due to some cultural beliefs,’’ he said.
Shuaibu said drug addiction among youths, especially young girls, was a major challenge threatening the future generations and moral values of younger generations.
He also noted that rising rate of unemployment was one of the contributory factors to youth involvement in drug abuse.
He, therefore, called on government and other relevant stakeholders to provide job opportunities to youths to address drug addiction.
Citing Kano State as an example of some areas where drug addiction among the youth is rampant, Mr Garba Ahmadu, the Commander of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency in Kano State, said the state led the chart of drug abuse in Nigeria in 2014.
“It is a painful fact that Kano State tops the drug abuse chart in Nigeria, a trend that all hands must be on deck to change if we are to save our upcoming generations from ruin.
“The use of hard drugs, especially among the youth, has become a real social menace and cuts across all social strata, with children from both rich and poor backgrounds deeply into it,’’ Ahmadu said.
He said that the agency destroyed more than 10 metric tonnes of drugs, including cannabis, cocaine and methamphetamine, with an estimated street value of some 1.4 million dollars. Drugs (Photo: GetHow images)
As a result of the increase in youth involvement in drug abuse and the move to give the war against illicit drug trafficking a legal backing, the Senate passed a motion on illicit global drug trade on March 1, 2016.
It also called for urgent amendment of Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria Act to include the sale of prescription pills over the counter as an offence punishable by the act.
It urged the Nigeria Police Force, National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to develop a collaborative approach towards curbing the incidence of drug abuse in Nigeria.
Similarly, in her efforts at checking drug addiction, the wife of the President Mrs Aisha Buhari, said she would contribute her quota towards the rehabilitation and empowerment of victims of drug addiction, especially women and youths.
She expressed serious concern over the damaging effect of drug abuse among young people in Nigeria.
She also pledged to use her non-governmental organisation –Future Assured initiative — to rehabilitate and empower victims of drug abuse by using some existing structures as rehabilitation centres.
Mrs Buhari, had earlier in February 2017, met with wives of the governors of the northern states with a view to finding a lasting solution to the menace in the north.
She also solicited more economic empowerment and education of parents of the drug addict children for them to be financial independent to take care of their children.
She said that she had started with the empowerment of 2, 200 women in Lagos, 2,200 women in Kano, Katsina and Enugu; and she would soon get across to more states.
“It is not easy to deal with drug abuse but we need to empower the parents to reduce the chances of having many drug addict children because the parents will be financially independent to take care of the children,’’ she said.