According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the past year’s prevalence of any drug use in Nigeria is estimated at 14.4 percent or 14.3 million regarding people aged between 15 and 64 years.
The level of drug use in Nigeria is high when compared with the 2016 global annual prevalence of any drug use of 5.6 percent among the adult population. The past year’s prevalence of psychoactive substances excluding alcohol, overall is becoming increasingly common among youths in Nigeria.
Recreational drug use is illegal in Nigeria yet some of these drugs are easily accessible. For some youths, it’s the thrill and the rush while others aim at finding solace to escape a deeper emotional pain by numbing themselves with tranquilizers and narcotics.
Cannabis is the most commonly used drug followed by opioids, mainly the non-medical use of prescription opioids and cough syrup.
Drug use by Nigerian youths has become a huge threat to the society at large, many young people become dependent on different types of substances and stimulating medicines that come hand in hand with narcotic effect, the use of these substances impacts a persons mental and physical health negatively causing major damage to the brain. It hampers a person’s power to have self-control.
It also interferes with their ability to resist the urge to take drugs. It is believed drugs are initially taken out of choice, however, it becomes hard to resist and recover from this problem leading drug addiction.
Drug abuse also leads to social problems like stress, violence, and child abuse. Reports show that people usually abuse drugs in order to curb stress due to family issues, pressure at work or school, relationship problems, loneliness and lastly lack of self confidence. Not to worry, the menace of drug abuse can be stopped and education is the first battle.
Children need to be told at home and in school about drugs, they need to be aware of the effects so that they can solve this problem. Families and counsellors need to talk to children and people at risk.
Furthermore, the government should also enhance anti-drug norms by the development and strengthening of drug policies, media efforts, and community-wide awareness programmes. This is to spread awareness about negative repercussions of drug abuse to discourage their use.
So that drug-related problems can be averted. We can do far better by using the measures stated above to protect the personal, community and economic devastation brought about by drug abuse.
–––Fayokanmi Omitade is a student at Babcock University