THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS OF DRUG ABUSE AMONG NIGERIAN YOUTH: WHO IS TO BLAME?

Written and compiled by a Nigerian student activist


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The impact of drug abuse among Nigerian youth has been a stigma of a morally bankrupt, decadent and wasted generation that must be revitalized and collectively salvaged together in order to prevent the total degeneration and loss of our societal values and ideals. What is the brain behind our rotten society via the Nigerian youth: DRUG ABUSE. We cannot all sit on the fence and criminally pretend on the menace of drug abuse that has eaten very deep into the fabrics of our society.

What do we mean by the term DRUG ABUSE? Drug abuse may be defined as the "arbitrary" overdependence or mis-use of one particular drug with or without a prior medical diagnosis from qualified health practitioners. Majority of the Nigerian youths ignorently depend on one form of drug or the other for their various daily activities - social, educational, political, moral, etc. etc.

There are many factors that contribute to the influence of drug abuse or drug addiction among the Nigerian youths, namely peer groups, parental background (broken home), emotional stress among others.

Firstly, peer groups is a form of societal influence on the affected youths. For example, a friend can be greatly influenced to be a drug addict if allowed to interact with drug addicts - young and old. He can be tempted on one fateful day to join the bad waggon of drug addicts, thereby gradually ruining his career in life. Getting hooked to a particular drug is like a gradual process that will reach a climax.

Dangerous drugs like cocaine, Indian hemp (marijuana), morphine, heroine, tobacco, ephedrine etc. etc. Some of these dangerous drugs are both represants and stimulants, making the users either to feel high (on top of the world!) or low (below the sea level!) since there is a common adage which says "Show me your friend and I will tell you who you are." Our youth need to be fully re-oriented with respect to this social evil. For example, in our contemporary society, some groups of boys might be shy and afraid to "approach" or woo beautiful female damsels to their side, they might result to taking hard drugs that can "pull them" up and summon courage and talk to such girls. But why this barbaric method of toasting? Really, some boys even believe strongly in drinking alcoholic drinks as their own crude method.

The sociological implications of drug abuse among the Nigerian youth have been a major threat to the peaceful co-existence of all and sundry in our contemporary society, thereby destroying the socio-political dignity, personality and integrity of dependence on life.

Secondly, the parental background of a child can also affect the over-dependence rate on drugs among the affected youths. Due to various family problems like broken homes (divorces), polygamous family, abject poverty, cultural influence, parental neglect, lack of parental affection and responsibility. A father that is a drug addict, may be greatly influenced and "carried away" by any of his children. Like father, like son.

Most parents in Nigeria today in their bid to make ends meet - searching for greener pasture always abandon and neglect the proper welfare of their wards and children and expose them to the "unofficial" assistance of the so-called house-maids. This ugly incidence will psychologically depress such children thereby giving rise to CHILD ABUSE which is an off-shoot of DRUG ABUSE. Without mincing words, such youths will end up in taking solace in some illicit hard drugs mentioned above for their survival in life. With this sad development, the society is being gradually and systematically ruined uncontrollably, thereby destroying the moral values of the Nigerian society via her youth. Wasted generation, of course!

Thirdly, naturally some group of teeangers are emotionally stressed, but instead for them to seek for a proper medical attention because a stitch in time saves many, they will result to SELF MEDICATION which is a conceptual relic of drug abuse, thereby using hard drugs for such corrections. Prevention, they say, is better (even cheaper ....) than cure. Some students believe so much in drinking coffee, drinks of different brands in order to suppress their normal routine of sleep. Can they successfully cheat nature? The frequent and persistent use (or mis-use) of this stimulant might degenerate to drug addiction or otherwise.

Many narcotics have been banned among our youths for their indiscriminate use by the international organisations like FAO (Food and Agricultural Organisation), WHO (World Health Organisation) and our various local organisations. There is a proverb in latin which says "MENS SANA IN CORPORE SANO" - meaning - "a sound mind in a sound body."

The various consequences of the drug abuse or drug addiction are so devastating and very shameful to the extent that both the national and internatinal organisations all over the world are also worried about the spread of this scourge among the Nigerian youths. They are as follows: social violence among youths, armed robbery, mental disorders, 419 syndrome, social miscreants (Area boys and girls), lawlessness among youth, lack of respect for elders, rape, and many more of the social evils. Who is to hold to ransom and blame seriously for the menace of drug abuse among the Nigerian youth? Parental background via the society or peer groups of our youths ....

Parental background has a major role to play in correcting the "plague" of drug abuse among the Nigerian youths which are believed to be the leaders of tomorrow for a proudable society.

The recommendations and suggested solutions to the menace of drug abuse among the Nigerian youths are highlighted below for national debate:

  1. Parents should sincerely re-orientate their children on the adverse of drug abuse on their health, society and human dignity, since charity, they say, begins at home.

  2. The Ministry of Education (Federal and State) must as a matter of urgency add to their curricula - DRUG EDUCATION for both the primary and post primary schools in the country and they should always organize lectures, rallies, seminars and film shows for the Nigerian youths on the adverse effects of drug abuse.

  3. National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) must also intensify their antidrug campaigns in order to have a drug- free society with a special focus on the Nigerian youths because they are the future leaders of this great Country in the black continent of Africa.

  4. All forms of government in Nigeria must interfere very fast in educating the Nigerian public about the spreading scourge of drug abuse among our youths through awareness programmes for the Nigerian youths in order to safeguard their career in life. Finally, the above suggested solutions will go a long way in critically correcting the over-dependence of our youth on drugs for progress, unity and development of our country.

Thanks.


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Last updated 23.04.97
Hogne.Sandvik@isf.uib.no