Curbing drug addiction as panacea to check criminality
Have you ever seen your child or ward taking Lipton soaked with regal gin, dry pawpaw leaves, hypo in Lacasera, Tom Tom in Lacasera?
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) recently arrested a medical doctor, Jane Ofoma, in Auchi, Edo, for selling drugged cookies and biscuits.
Mr Femi Babafemi, the Spokesperson of NDLEA said Ofoma sold the drugged cookies and biscuits through an online catering service, Omachi’s kitchen.
He said at least 94 pieces of cookies produced with cannabis sativa were recovered from the suspect.
Babafemi said that the 26-year-old Ofoma, confessed to baking the cookies with substances.
A visit to the Rehabilitation Ward, for drug addicts, Karu General Hospital, Abuja, showed how young people are involved in drug addiction.
One of the parents who refused to give her name said she was forced to bring her son to the rehabilitation centre after he threatened to kill himself. She said that he left a suicide note to that effect.
She said that her son was engrossed in substance abuse for years, resulting to him selling everything he lays his hand on.
She said that the suicide note he wrote was the last straw that pushed the family to consider bringing him to the rehabilitation centre in a bid to seek a lasting solution.
A pharmacist, Opeyemi Ogunyemi, attributed drug and substance abuse to peer pressure.
She urged parents to raise children with healthy self-esteem to be able to say NO to drug abuse.
“Many of these young boys and girls go into these drugs in their quest for acceptance. Some want to prove that they’re equally as tough as their peers, so they succumb to the pressure,’’ she said.
Chairman of NDLEA, retired Brig-Gen Buba Marwa, said there is a connection between drug use and the rise in criminality in the country.
He noted that the relationship between substance abuse and crime is a fact, adding that no sane human being will rise against society to commit the atrocities the country is witnessing in recent years.
He added that such an individual must “first hardened his heart with mind altering substances.’’
The NDLEA boss stated that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reports confirmed the alarming trend, stressing that Nigeria has one of the highest drug prevalence in West Africa.
Marwa added that the drug use prevalence in Nigeria, for age 15-64 is approximately 14.3 per cent, which according to him is almost three times the global drug use prevalence of 5.5 per cent.
He noted that the implication of the figure is that drug abuse is almost getting to an epidemic proportion.
He said that there is a stronger certainty about drug link to insecurity with incontrovertible evidence from the theatre of military operations in the North-East.
UNODC noted that more programmes are needed to prevent use of drugs among youths
Dr Akanidomo Ibanga, the National Project Officer, UNODC stated that there was need to go beyond advice by adopting more prevention programmes.
According to him, I say advice is not adequate, if I provide this person with knowledge and other factors, that person is not likely to engage in the use of drugs.
“We have doctors or nurses that are using drugs and addicted to drugs. They are knowledgeable about it.
“So, it is not the knowledge alone that stops the individual from using drugs, there are other factors that need to be taken into consideration.
“It is by addressing these factors that will then prevent young people from engaging in drug abuse.
“So, providing them information about the harm is not adequate in preventing a young person from using drugs.”
Ibanga advised young people to also know that there were harmful effects in drug abuse.
He said a lot of young Nigerians were into taking drugs without knowing the risk and harm associated with drugs.
He stated that about 17 per cent of the people currently in prisons or in the custodial centres are drug addicts, adding that young people are not seeing drugs as risky.
“Once you don’t see something as being risky in terms of harming you, then you are more prone to the potential to engage in that.
“If you see it as harmful, then you are less likely to engage in it,” Ibanga said.