The extremely worrying state of insecurity and the general social upheavals currently shaking the country can be seen as the manifestation of a number of factors, including dire economic circumstances, unhealthy politics and continued failure of leadership. Brigadier General Buba Marwa (rtd), Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), recently highlighted another critical factor in the social and economic malaise in the widespread drug and narcotics abuse in Nigeria.
Speaking on the occasion of his coronation as Aare Jaqunmolu of Ogidi Kingdom during the celebration of Ogidi Day 2021 in Ijumu Local Government Area in Kogi State recently, General Marwa expressed deep concern about the trend of drug abuse in society, revealing that at least 10.6 million of the Nigerian population are addicted to the consumption of cannabis or Indian hemp alone.
“Today, as many as 14.3 million Nigerians, youth and adults between the ages of 16 and 64 are abusing drugs, with cannabis being the most commonly used substance. At least 10.6 million people have become addicted to cannabis in the past year.
“What is heartbreaking is that the majority of them are young people who are introduced to cannabis use around the age of 19. There is also an increasing use of other psychotropic drugs, notably heroin, again, by an increasing number of young people who are mostly initiated by the age of 22.
“The more you unravel the statistics of drug use in Nigeria, the more overwhelming it becomes. And when you combine this damning data with the recent results of NDLEA activities, you start to worry, ”he said.
The NDLEA boss, who noted that illicit drug use has destroyed many families, ruined the lives of many young people, urged parents and guardians to take good care of their children and wards while demanding concerted efforts by all Nigerians to reduce the raging fire.
Alarmingly, to say the least, up to 5% of the Nigerian population, which is in the most productive age group, is addicted to the deliberate ingestion of substances that cause physical, mental, emotional or social. Certain substances would be able to alter the mind, to modify the sensations, the perception and the behavior of the user, because they exert an action on the brain.
The abuse of drugs, including alcohol, suffocates the nervous system, increases the heartbeat, causes blood vessels to dilate, causes digestive difficulties, interferes with the power of judgment, and poisons the upper brain and nervous center. , produces scrambled, faltering, lazy speech, reaction, erratic emotivity, premature sleep, elevated mood, suppresses hunger, decreases fatigue, induces sensory sensations and hallucinations. In addition, the use and abuse of hard drugs also leads to a decrease in physical and psychological sensitivity which leads to loss of contact with reality, a feeling of euphoria, reduced fear, induces tension and tension. anxiety, causes unconsciousness, coma and death.
Besides the resulting health consequences, drug addiction and abuse also cause social dislocation, personality disorders, and put constant financial pressure on the indulgent and their support systems. The health care system of communities, local governments, states and the federal government is also severely affected. Without a doubt, substance abuse has always been closely linked to the rise and ferocity of sects, armed robberies, rapes, banditry, kidnappings and various violent crimes that increasingly plague our country. country.
To contain the social and economic scourge of drug addiction and abuse, NDLEA must receive all the cooperation, support and assistance necessary to function optimally. It is heartening that the agency is said to have “arrested over 2,180 drug traffickers, intercepted and seized over two million kilograms of assorted illicit substances such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, tramadol and cannabis “.
According to the drug law enforcement official, “Overall, the agency has been able to seize drugs and money worth over 90 billion naira over the course of the year. of the first four months of this year. We have brought over 2,000 drug cases to court. More than 500 people have been convicted and are serving various prison terms. And we still have over 1,500 cases pending before the courts ”.
As impressive as the NDLEA’s performance has been, especially since General Buba Marwa took over as head of the agency, The Tide believes that the outfit alone cannot win the war on narcotics without membership and leadership. active participation of all Nigerians. Therefore, in addition to government support and assistance at all levels, we believe that an active and solid involvement of the traditional institution, religious organizations, educational institutions, youth groups, society groups civil, municipal unions is essential.
Good parenting education, counseling, monitoring, counseling and mentoring are also essential in controlling the threat. Parents need to be able to account for the lifestyle of their children and their wards and take a serious interest in their physical, psychological, emotional and mental well-being.
The NDLEA needs to be further strengthened in all its ramifications to be more aggressive, effective and efficient in breaking up the sources, routes and unions involved in the production, trafficking, distribution and consumption of hard drugs. This should include the location and destruction of cannabis farms all over the country.
Campaigns against drug addiction must be energized and extended to all corners and corners of the country, especially in rural areas. Tougher penalties for drug offenders should be enforced while the federal government should consider setting up specialized courts to try drug-related cases for faster resolution of cases.
The Tide believes that the fight against illicit drugs will do good for the fight against illegal drugs if a program is launched to encourage and reward whistleblowers when no attention should be given to Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu’s proposal regarding production and cannabis use. At the very least, the governor’s proposal to legalize hard drugs is misguided, ill-conceived, and likely to exacerbate an already bad situation.
For overall and lasting success to be achieved, efforts must be made to improve the depressing economic situation in the country. Young people need to be productively engaged to divert their minds from unproductive ventures like crime and other destructive hobbies.
For all intents and purposes, the battle against illicit drug use, abuse and addiction is a struggle for a safe, peaceful, healthy, productive and prosperous society and a secure future for our young people that must be won.