The menace of drug abuse especially among the youths have been on a steady increase even with efforts from different stakeholders on curbing drug and substance abuse. Some of the substance and drugs youth explore range from cannabis (weed), codeine (cough syrup), tramadol, roche, e.t.c.
Some of the youths go further to have a combination and mixture of substances ranging from dry gin and weed popularly known in the street as “monkey tail” or “soja root” or (oshomo) in Yoruba parlance.
These combinations are usually peddled by ladies on the street in rubber bowls carried on their heads.
Some of the youths have even gone further to sniff toilet “soak-away” and chemical for patching tubes called “solution.
There is also the rise of bitters which is a combination of dry gin and root and tree extract with about 45% alcohol level. This also comes in various brands and combination, alomo bitters, origin bitters, “baby oku”, action bitters, pasa bitters.
Most of the “bitters “ are further combined with energy drinks such as power horse, bullet vodka, monster, fearless, red bull which are highly concentrated in caffeine an addictive stimulant.
Most of the consumers are youth or teenagers who claim they derive satisfaction from being “high” and that it’s a way of reducing stress and anxiety from societal pressure especially with the high level of unemployment and redundancy.
Some of these drugs came into limelight in a couple of years back. Reasons is the exposure to the world through internet and drug related music and movies where drug addiction and consumption is portrayed as a way of relaxation and a “feel good” propaganda.
The federal government just placed a ban on the sale of codeine and related drugs while the Nigerian drug law enforcement agency and the Nigerian Customs Service have made quite a number of arrests. This deserves commendation even though a lot need to be done in the areas of surveillance arrest and penalties.
The question is where are the parents, guardian or wards of the teenagers involved? Why are there so many dealers and easy access to drugs? What is the Nigerian Custom service doing to checkmate influx through the border of most of the drugs as they are usually imported into the country? And finally what exactly is a youth of age 16 to 25 thinking of that is actually creating stress and anxiety? Where are the unemployed youth getting the funds for purchasing drugs?
The federal government needs to increase its surveillance on drugs control and make stiffer penalty for offenders. The Nigerian broadcasting corporation should ban and arrest musicians or actors in movies that promote drug usage and propaganda.
The fight against drug abuse among Nigerian youth must be an all-encompassing effort from the home to school enlightenment and finally the society as the government alone cannot curtailed in its entirety drug abuse.
Some of the youths who get involved in drugs initially start up as a result of peer pressure, uninformed effects of long term drug usage. Part of the school syllabus should include combating drug abuse and the resultant effects of long term usage to an individual’s health.