Drug Abuse, A Nation’s Looming Epidemic!

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By Ray Morphy –

Travelling across country by road has become indeed scary. The roads are bad to say the least, but the real danger is the fact that most drivers, particularly commercial drivers, “shine their eyes well, well” before they start out on their journeys!

Motor parks across the nation have become points of drug and alcohol sales! I actually live near such a terminus and I can tell you that it is bad. I live in Asokoro Abuja, close to AYA Roundabout, which is now a taxi and bus terminus of sorts. Drivers hangout there while awaiting their turns! While they hangout, they consume all “every every”!

Right in the park, you can see them quaffing all manner of hot drinks and smoking Indian hemp as well. And all is, in the full glare of VIO officers. You can also see uniformed men openly cavorting and fraternising with both hemp and alcohol!

Cough syrup bottles litter their feet while tramadol is openly consumed and mixed  with all manners of hot drinks some of which are laced with herbs and the like. You can now understand why cab and bus drivers often behave as though possessed. Indeed, they are!

Sadly enough, students are not left out in this new craze for mind-bending drugs! Universities, those citadels of learning are fast becoming palaces for drug dealers and drugged out students who have no value for human lives. Most people don’t seem to get that the student cult culture is also a drug culture. Their initiations always involve heavy alcohol and drug use.

It is their heavy drug use that numb their feelings to the point that they can without qualms behead fellow students who happen to be members of opposing cult groups!

When you consider the rise in horrendous and despicable crime in our clime, you realise how much drugs has degraded public morality and the sanity of the 20 to 50 year olds!

Women are not exempt either. Indeed, the Senate has a report that Kano and Jigawa states alone consume over 3 million bottles of Codeine laced cough syrup daily. It is now common to find girls as little as 12 years old, smoking Indian hemp in the open. Indeed, recently, I visited a friend in Karu area and the sight he showed me flabbergasted and suckered me. He took me to his bedroom window through which we could look down into a neighborhood joint. I could see school children in uniform buying and smoking Indian hemp. I could also see nursing mothers with babies on their backs smoking hemp and drinking ‘paraga’!

Indeed, we have an epidemic in our hands! We have an epidemic that has deep ramifications for the future of our country as well as for our security as a people!

And that is why all hands must be on deck to check the menace of drug abuse! Which is why this column must commend the Senate for their recent attempt to rise to the occasion! They passed a motion  in an attempt to draw attention to the drug epidemic which is really threatening families and putting vulnerable kids in psychiatric wards!

These are kids who should otherwise be in schools and universities!

In the motion, Senator Baba Kaka Bashir Garbai (APC, Borno) said that drug abuse, especially cannabis and cocaine, had been a long-term problem among male youths in northern states.

“Codeine cough syrup and other prescriptive drugs have become as termed, ‘the new cancer ravaging women and girls in the North.’”

The lawmaker said that abuse of codeine syrup and other controlled drugs currently constituted the greatest challenge faced by youths and drug officers in Northern Nigeria.

He noted that there were several reports about young girls in tertiary institutions in the country who had taken to an alarming abuse of the Codeine cough syrup.

“This problem is destroying even the mothers in homes as they use same codeine and other drugs as an escape from their abusive relationships and invariably get hooked on them,” Garbai said.

Is anyone therefore surprised at the spate of domestic violence that is ravaging the land?

It is time we all woke up to the fact that drugs have made a grand entry into our cities, our towns, our villages and possibly our homes!

And unless we face up and take steps to contain the scourge, it may like corruption overcome us!

The obvious fact is the influence of foreign media but there is also the fact that parental structures have become weak coupled by the fact that our children have very little to look up to. Their lives are basically hopeless and full of voids. Unfortunately, they use drugs to fill the void!

Aluta Continua!