Anon-for-profit book titled, “Youth and Substance Abuse’’ written by Pastor Keji Hamilton has been launched in Lagos last weekend for the benefit of young people, parents, guardian, teachers and counselors to learn about the dangers of substance abuse and how to avoid them. The author is a former band member of the legendary Afrobeat musician, Fela Anikulapo Kuti and a dreaded street boy whose life had been transformed positively since he disabused his mind and took a career in drug rehabilitation using the spiritual healing process. Pastor Hamilton is the co-ordinator of The House of Joy, a drug rehabilitation centre under the auspices of the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
The book is supported by voluntary donations and the proceeds go to the Global Centre for Drug Eradication. The decision to write a book on this global menace was reached when Hamilton embarked on his ministry in places where drug addicts are largely populated. As he moved to the well-heeled areas in Lagos, he made a shocking discovery. Most of the children from rich homes are abusing drugs. As a matter of fact, a good number of them have pastors as parents. He also discovered that many of these children hide the drugs from their parents for years while their academic performance and general well-being plummet.
He recalled how a young girl was caught with some drugs at a university owned by a church. The private universities run by churches have stringent rules on morals. Hence, students are restricted from making phone calls on mobile phones, wild parties and unwholesome associations. Still, some students have punctured the school system for selfish gain. Speaking at the book launched held at Raddisson Blu, Victoria Island, Dr. Tunde Eletu commended Hamilton’s effort in taking the huge step against drug abuse. Eletu recounted in brief his personal experience as a young post-graduate who practiced psychiatry for a short period. He said it was a difficult experience dealing with drug addicts and so he left for pediatrics
The Co-ordinator, Wellspring, Julie Park also added that many people got involved in drugs right from their secondary schools as teenagers. She said Hamilton’s personal life story had touched many and compelled them to change for good.
Hamilton’s friend from the days of Afrikan Shrine, Vitalis Mbanigo who is also a pastor recalled the dark days of drug dependence.
“The devil took us captive. Back then, Keji and I were the shrine. During yabis night, we were there. We had access to drugs. I made money. I sold drugs. Sometimes I would give Keji some drugs to sell and he would smoke it. But then, I became born again before him.
“Right now, my ministry is under the bridges where many cannot go. I talk to ‘boys’. We pray this ministry will be a household name because 80% of children from rich homes are into drugs,’’ he claimed.
Hamilton, who dropped out of University of Ibadan to pursue a career in music got involved in drugs, of all kinds. He told the audience that even prescription drugs can be abused and called on the government to strengthen capacity in the fight against drug abuse. He noted that drug dependency is so powerful that the addict himself cannot rid himself of the habit. Apart from the influence of friends and associates, Hamilton observed that the failure to admit that the one’s dependence on drug is a problem will lead to further complications such as mental dysfunction and sudden death.
“Every mallam sells Tramadol and Tramadol is so cheap,’’ he remarked. He also noted that drug abuse is the bane of other social vices as well as crimes against humanity. Armed robbery, kidnapping, assassinations and suicide bombings are fuelled by drugs. He observed that some countries have robust economy that thrives on drug trafficking. He also said that in Nigeria, some lawmakers and other highly placed government officials are also actively involved in drugs. For him, to tackle the problem of drug abuse, it has to start from the family unit which is the bedrock of the society. The book launch was preceded by a short expository video screening on drugs and substance abuse.