Drug abuse: The battle continues

SINCE inception, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has been fighting the war against illicit drugs peddling around the society. It seems nothing is being done with the proliferation of drugs throughout the shores of this nation. The financial gains of this criminal act have beclouded the conscience of these smugglers and they see nothing wrong in the effects of hard drugs on humanity. The struggle to curb this menace continues as the bootleggers escape the eagle eyes of NDLEA officials. Many streets are overturned by urchins lost to hard drugs right from childhood. A situation far beyond  the political strength of any leadership is imminent. Addicts derive pleasure in taking substances that could make them high in all cases. They go the extra mile to mix different brands of drugs to attain stimulation, their state of mind increasingly showing abnormalities. Drugs are considered illicit if they are not supported by the national law to be taken without prescriptions: some are restricted from pharmaceutical benches, so they are not to be sold without professional approval.

This prohibition is strictly for the good of the citizens. Drugs are mind-altering and affect some neurotransmitters when the signals get to the neurons. Agents like serotonin and dopamine receive a nudge from drugs to be transmitted for a serious response. When this happens, moods, pleasures and behaviours are influenced negatively. Drugs like morphine, heroine, opium and cocaine are most prevalent among the illicit substances that alter the functions of the brain. The thinking centre becomes subjected to or dependent on drugs for decision-making and other life-changing experiences. This may remain through a lifetime as the abuse advances. The fight against the indiscriminate use of substances has been in the front burner among stakeholders: religious leaders, school owners, business crusaders, among others. However, the level of increase in cases  shows that the youth are at a high risk of crossing the red line. Among adolescents, drugs and other psychoactive substances have become specimens to experiment with. In people between the ages of 10 and 25 years, the level of peer pressure, curiosity and other means of relieving stress take the centre stage.

Alcohols of different brands are mild addictive exposures to victims of drug abuse. Packaged in different forms for retail, they have become addictive substances to many,  young and old. With various percentages, they come in beers, wines and other liquors without enforcement of restrictions. As hazardous as they are to some major organs of the body, some still claim that they are of much benefit to health. Alkanols of various classes are used as preservatives in some food industries with serious safety guidelines. They are also used as sterilisers for some surgical tools and laboratory apparatuses. Drugs are considered hard based on the serious injuries inflicted on the human system. The classification of drugs is done by professionals in the field of pharmacy and other related fields. Some are considered for therapeutic purposes and some for aesthetics. Those for aesthetics come with strong warnings of consequences for long-term dependent or pleasures. Those in this category, unfortunately, get more patronage that leads to serious addiction and health damages in the long run. Other shocking stories also emanate from analeptic drugs as patients who may in the past got prescriptions threw caution in the air to self-medicate.

Narcotic drugs take the lead in the society with serious levels of proliferation through the shores of the country. Airports, seaports and land borders witness large numbers of arrest of drug barons. Those who do drugs take life for granted and become the ridicule of the society when their addiction is at advanced stages. Hard drugs are peculiar to different regions of Nigeria: states have their specific or customised forms of substances they abuse. The objective determines what substance will grace the occasion for high or optimum performance as they claim. The age bracket corresponds to the kind of substances that are commonly abused. Statistical correlation reveals the population that is more involved in the abuse of substances. Youthful exuberance is among the factors for drug abuse, together with peer pressure. Lack of parental control is another factor for drug abuse among teenagers. Doing drugs starts secretly among peers before becoming full-fledged and in the open. The fight is getting fiercer as the level of exposure increases. It is just a matter of time, the next generation may see marijuana, opium and other narcotics as normal. What do we say of hoodlums, urchins and vagabonds on our streets smoking cannabis?

Shisha, colorado, heroin, vodka, among others, are household names among addicts. Recruitment is ongoing for young people and adults who may succumb to pressure. The job of the NDLEA should not just be restricted to the points of entry; it should include the destinations of drug couriers. So much work has been done by this agency since its new Director General, General Buba Marwa (retd) came into office but so many stones are yet unturned. This may be due to inadequate manpower or resources. However, the battle is still ongoing and must continue until the right approach is engaged

  • Fashakin, a seasoned educator writes in via olusegunfashakin@gmail.com

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