By Olufemi Fadahunsi
The rampant abuse of drugs among Nigerians especially youths has left many asking the rhetorical question “are youths still the”?
Talking about youths’ participation and involvement in drug use every day, the impact will no doubt be a major cause of backwardness in our society in years to come if it’s not seriously tackled at this stage.
There are various kinds of illicit drugs that are widely circulated and abused to perform different functions among Nigerians either as sedatives, depressants or stimulants ranging from Cannabis, Codeine, Amphetamine, Heroin, Benzodiazepines and controlled drugs like Tramadol.
These drugs have diverse effects that can alter the state of consciousness and make the user feel high, very happy, relaxed and many more but the disadvantages of these substances far outweigh the benefits most of our Youths think they derive, as these same substances can cause varying risks to the health, both psychologically and physically like Liver failure, kidney damage, increased heart rate, constricted blood vessels, heart attack, memory loss, paranoia, anxiety and many more.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the principal psychoactive constituent in cannabis can also lead to increased heart rate, slower reaction and anxiety at the long run.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA under the leadership of Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Rtd.) has been trying in its capacity to clear our society off these illicit substances and give us a saner nation.
The 2021 operational statistics shows that the Agency made over 12,000 arrests with more than 3.4m kilograms of illicit drugs recovered from circulating round the nation, thereby reducing the risk of having junkies in our communities.
In spite of all these arrests being made by the Agency on daily basis on Land borders, Airports and Seaports, it’s still so alarming to see many young, vibrant and aspiring Youths still dealing in drugs either as peddlers or users, most of which are due to peer pressure, parental drug sub-culture, ignorance, lack of proper education, urbanization and unemployment, occupational predisposition and most importantly ‘availability’
I want to plead with the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. General Buba Marwa with the support of the Federal Government of Nigeria to encourage massive advocacy which I believe will educate the general public more about the dangers of drug abuse and misuse and also let them know that the dangers outweigh the short term benefits the usage of these substances may bring.
Also, the officers should not relent in their efforts to fighting the menace by conducting raid operations, and arresting all the cartels and barons behind the circulation of these drugs which have truncated the lives of many promising Nigerians and making sure they are put behind bars to serve as deterrent to those who might be having the notion of starting this illicit business.
Fighting this war will widely put an end to the series of security challenges we are facing in this country, ranging from banditry, kidnapping, killings etc.
* Olufemi Fadahunsi writes from Ado Ekiti, Ekiti