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Drug Abuse in Nigeria: the Construction of a Better Country

Menace of Drug abuse in Nigeria

Building a mysterious country like Nigeria that has for long been seen at the forefront of death is such a cumbersome task to be done. But owing to the indisputable fact that nothing can salvage the country from being nailed by the shaggy hammer of death, the little energy we have should be sacrificed. That being said, to forge ahead in the thorny journey for our betterment, a slew number of things should be done. Such as curbing the menace of drug abuse in Nigeria.

So long as we all hanker to envision the monument of a promising Nigeria in the nearer future, especially in the present time where the youths have been abandoning the properly grounded roads to the dilapidated ones. That is, how the youths have been embracing the threatening, dehumanizing, and dreadful menace of drug abuse in Nigeria. And we all know the explicit truth that youths are the bedrock and rigidities to building a healthy society that devoids any act of retrogression and vice versa.

Definitions of Drug Abuse

Hitting the nail on the head to simplify what drug abuse means, a simply given definition of it is: Drug Abuse is the use of drugs without a doctor’s prescription and instructions on how to use. On the other hand, it can be simply said to be using illegal drugs by a social being for some purposes which may affect him or her in a quite number of ways, i.e socially, emotionally, and physically. 

As we all know, there are fields whose major concern is society, like the broad field of Sociology that seeks to dig out that which is hidden, and how people interact within the context of the society. It does this by understanding the behaviors that affect human society and ensuring its well-being (the society). Sociologists view the dreadful menace of drug abuse amongst the Nigerian youths from two different perspectives. That is, the micro view which is the former, and the macro view which is the latter. 

Causes of Drug Abuse in Nigeria and The World

Stepping back to the past forty years, drug abuse wasn’t widely accepted in human society; it was something hardly-found. From the research being conducted, drug abuse by youths, not in Nigeria alone, has increased by almost 45% comparing it to the low percentage of how youths abused drugs in the past. An example given by Ben Lesser in his research conducted in “March 2021” on the history of drug abuse says that youths that were using heroin have had a massive increase from  0.7 per 100,000 in 2000 to 2.7 per 100,000 in 2013, with most of the rise occurring after 2010.

From this, it can be strictly said that the latter is gnawing than the former. In line with this,  the micro view is that drug abuse was a problem at the individual level before it turns out to be a  social problem as it develops. That is, it was only affecting individuals alone not the larger society. This was because of numerous causes which would be discussed above having seen that it is an inevitable fact that a problem cannot be curbed unless its causes at the micro and macro levels are given a radical consideration in the society. Therefore, it’s our task to know the causes at both the micro and macro levels so as to clear our pavement in profounding the possible, workable, and achievable panaceas to the menace at both levels. 

List of the causes of drug abuse in Nigeria

It is an undeniable fact that a problem can’t exist in human society on its own. There are some strange social factors that are the roots and exigencies in exacerbating the use of drugs among Nigerian youths. National Institute On Drug Abuse observed that youth might likely begin abusing drugs during their adolescence and young adulthood due to these problems: 

1. Neglect

2. Broken Home or Broken Society

3. Deviant Peer Group

4. Poverty

Discussing the Causes Widely:

1. Neglect: is the form of child abuse that has a long-term effect on the child being neglected. It can either be physical neglect where the child would be neglected in all the angles of life. Or emotional abuse where the child doesn’t have the special nurture either by the parents or by the society. From the research, it can be by intimidating or humiliating the child in one way or the other. And it can also be educational where the child would not have a quality education. Thus, the youth would embrace the idea of abusing drugs which chronically debilitates a social being as a way of coping with the emotional, physical, and educational stresses resulting from being neglected. 

2. Broken Home/Society: broken home or society is one of the significant social problems to be addressed in human society. It contributes massively to causing drug abuse among youths. This could be when a child is nurtured by the family where a single parent nurtures the behavior of the child in a broken society where abusing drugs is a norm. This clearly doubts a strong and straightforward contribution to oiling drug abuse among the youth in society.

3. Deviant Peer Group: as the saying goes: “birds of the same feather do flock together” this is certainly enough to refute that a deviant peer group can influence youth to start abusing drugs. In his study on deviant peer groups’ influence on drug abuse, Jodie Michalak, says that a youth might be struggling to make friends when he/she finds friends who in happenstance are drug users. It may be hard to reject their invitation to join them as a friend. As such, the group would influence the youth to start abusing drugs as the only way to escape rejection from friends before it forces him to become a drug addict.

4. Poverty: it’s like all the other social evils impeding society. But poverty’s role in influencing drug abuse amongst youth is vital, especially in a very poor country like Nigeria. It’s of vigorous significance to take cognizance that poverty is beyond the lack of money; it aggravates the other social issues. In fact, researchers have discovered and refuted that poverty is the main root causing the other existential social problems. Therefore, due to poverty, a youth might inevitably start abusing drugs to cope with his or her financial stress. 

But the fact here is that it’s not just abusing the drugs that is the most worrisome, it’s its gnawing effects to society. Drug abuse among the Nigerian youths is one of the building blocks to a surfeit number of vices committed by the youth in Nigeria.  Unknitting the knot, it is the machinery that perpetuates the dehumanizing menace of rape, theft, domestic violence, murder, accident and so on.

In Nigeria today, the aforementioned impediments are no longer caused merely by some factors, but by drug abuse. Especially rape, many women and girls were seen raped irrespective of their age by drug abusers. What can you say of a reported case of a lad who raped a 60 years old woman in Ogun state, recently in the June of 2021? In the same vein, what of the drunken youths that drive at night? The rides end up leading innocent people to death. What of the cases of murder perpetrated by drug abuse in the country among the youth? 

However, like other problems, drug abuse among the Nigerian youth can be possibly drastically alleviated, and perhaps, be totally obliterated in the near future if radical heed is paid to the above antidotes.  This is strictly said in view of the indisputable fact that there’s no single, problem that doesn’t have a workable panacea. 

How to curb drug abuse

The parents should be very vigilant about the whereabouts of their children; inculcate moral values in them; support them academically and financially. The government at all levels should be serious about the safety of the citizens, thereby strengthening the laws on driving while drunk. The government should provide job opportunities for the youths to avoid the shackles of unemployment. In the same vein, the youth should be alarmed about the effects of drug abuse on their health, especially in the villages where it’s becoming a norm. With that, a gleaming Nigeria with productive youths will be built within a blink of an eye. 

Salim Yakubu Akko

Salim Yakubu Akko is a Nigerian writer and poet. His works have appeared or are forthcoming on Trouvaille Review, Inspired Magazine, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Teen Lit Journal, OneBlackBoyLikeThat Review, Fevers of the Mind Magazine, ILA Magazine, Spill Words Press, Amulet Poetry Magazine, Nantygreens Magazine, Literary Yard, Calabar Poetry, Parrot Box, World Voices Magazine, African Fingers, Applied Worldwide, Ice Lolly Review, Upwrite Magazine, Scratch Poetry Magazine, Arts Lounge, Daily trust Newspaper, Blueprint Newspaper, The Guardian, Independent Nigeria, People's Daily Newspaper, Nigerian Tribune, Daily Companion, The Campus Watch, Today Post Nigeria, My Nigeria, Opinion Nigeria and elsewhere. He is the World Voices Magazine’s Nigerian correspondent and a Guest Contributor at Applied Worldwide. Shortlisted for the 2021 Bill Ward Prize for Emerging Writers. Among the 2021 Gombe delegates for the Hadiza Ibrahim Aliyu Schools’ Festival(HIASFEST). Participated in the 2021 Jewel Peace Project. Nominated for the 2021 Northern Nigerian Literary Rising Star of the Year. Won and participated in numerous competitions during his high school, including ANCOPSS, Spelling Bee, FRSC Essay Writing Competition, Brain Test Sweet Math Consult ( SMCBT), Olympiad Mathematics Competition, and so forth. Akko is a member of the Gombe Jewel Writers’ Association, Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation, and Creative Club Gombe State University.