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The dangers of drug abuse among youths

Apart from cocaine, cough syrup containing codeine and adhesives commonly referred to as ’’gum’’ have become drugs being abused by youth in the country. It…

Apart from cocaine, cough syrup containing codeine and adhesives commonly referred to as ’’gum’’ have become drugs being abused by youth in the country. It is a source of concern that the use of drugs has become a vogue with more young Nigerians taking to the habit. The use of illicit drugs such as tramol, heroin, cocaine and other related substances which include methaqualone, amphetamines and benylin with codeine may lead to criminal activity in addition to physical, social and psychological harm to its users.

Drug abusers tend to procure large quantities of the drug without prescriptions which they consume. Last year the Association of Community Pharmacist in Abuja had to stop open sale of benylin since its abuse was becoming widespread. Our youth in the habit of taking drugs like tramol and other energy boosting drugs in the name of physical fitness stand the risk of damage to their body system as the body becomes addicted to such drugs.  A good number of athletes have caused harm to their health through the consumption of steroids. Steroids are supposed to be performance enhancing drugs but tend to take a toll later in life. The great football legend Diego Armando Maradona of Argentina almost became a wreck as a result of the use of cocaine.

Some of these drugs are quite expensive and in a bid to maintain the habit users resort to stealing and even armed robbery while the women go into prostitution to sustain the habit. It has been discovered that most armed robbers had the habit of taking drugs and as such drug addiction has connection to criminal activities. A good number of musicians have had their careers wrecked or even lost their lives as a result of drug abuse.

Apart from the increase in the level of drug addiction in the country, Nigerian youths have also become international drug couriers. A good number of Nigerian youths have been caught while attempting to traffic drugs outside the country. Notwithstanding the fact that Nigeria does not produce hard drugs, the country has developed the negative reputation of being an international drug transit point. Nigerians that travel out of the country are treated with suspicion whether they are clerics or reputable Nigerians.

In this regard, there is the urgent need to tackle the issue of drug abuse in the country. In the past there had been efforts to address the problem such as the death penalty introduced by the Buhari administration, however this problem still persists. Therefore the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in collaboration with National Agency for Food Drugs and Administration (NAFDAC) must put in place more punitive measures to check the proliferation of drugs in the country. In addition, another way to eradicate drug abuse in the country is to educate parents, especially women, on the dangers of youths engaging in such acts because through parents, children will no doubt learn early enough to steer clear of drug abuse.

Mubarak Mahmood, Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri

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