EXPERIMENTAL curiosity, peer influence, lack of parental supervision and availability of drugs, among others have been identified as causes of the growing use of drug abuse in the country’s tertiary institutions.
Dr. Adedokun Adedeji, said Nigeria is rated the world’s 8th highest consumer of Indian hemp/cannabis. He noted that drug abuse is now prevalent more than ever among the youths, who sees its usage as cool and are even quick to boast of their prowess in taking stimulants.
According to him, from the National Drug and Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) records about 80 per cent of substance abuse, trade and use in the country is Cannabis. It was estimated that over three million bottles of Benylin with Codeine syrup are being consumed in both Kano and Jigawa States, due to the scarcity of cocaine.
“The South-East zone from the NDLEA records has the highest of drug traffickers in the country. According to 2013 survey, 90 per cent of abusers of drugs and substance are teenagers and young adults aged between 15 and 29 years old” he said.
While noting that though the use of illicit drug is not a new trend, he lamented that it is growing at an alarming rate
with ‘more leaders of tomorrow’ embracing drug abuse for various reasons. “Gone are the days when drug use was regarded as stigma, with users generally hiding in their closets to indulge in the act. Today, the story has changed.
“Even, our universities, particularly the Christian ones, are not spared as investigations have revealed that more
students in our higher institutions are fast joining the drug train, smoking away their future for the pleasure of getting high.”
Adedeji, who listed substances of abuse as hemp, cannabis, marijuana, skunk, codeine, rohypnol, cocaine, tramadol, alcohol and combination drugs, said signs and symptoms of the menace include possession of drug paraphernalia like foil, rolling, possession of actual drugs, seeds or leaves and odour of drug, smell of incense, use of strong perfumes and strong menthol sweets to obscure smell.
Speaking on the effect, he said an addicted person may show a decline in academic performance, frequently fail to attend classes, lost of interest in school work and display of weakened motor coordination, poor health and lack of interest in old friendships.
“The parents have important roles to play to avert this problem. They must establish and nurture good relationship with their children, lead by example, allocate time to spend with family, allow discussion before decisions are taken, seek knowledge about contemporary issues affecting young people, seek professional help when necessary and taking their responsibilities more seriously,” he stated.
He said the aspects of prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration have been recognised as key elements in the global strategy to reduce drug use and demand, which is part of the seminar, adding that all key players, private individuals and organisations should fill the gap where government has not reached.