Reasons for Increasing Rate of Drug Abuse Among Young People

Reasons for Increasing Rate of Drug Abuse Among Young People

The high rate of drug addiction and deviant behaviours noticed among the young population has been linked to poor parenting skills. This was disclosed to QuestNews24 by the State Commander of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), CN Obot Bassey, last week in an exclusive interview in Uyo.

Fielding questions from our correspondent on why the issues of drug addiction by young people continue to rise, despite the dangers it exposes the addicts to, the sector commander immediately pointed out lack of good parenting skills as a major reason children take to drug habit, which eventually culminates into addiction and socially risky behaviours and criminality.

 Her words: “The causes of drug abuse among people are not far-fetched, we could start from poor parenting skills. Parents are the ones that plant core values in children, parents will nurture them from the womb, to the cradle, to the adolescent. So, parents play a vital role in ensuring that the child does not deviate from the norms and values of life.”

To inculcate noble values in children, according to her, involves skills in mentoring and impartation of moral values to the children at home. Anchoring her point on scriptural foundation of; “Teach a child the way he or she should go and he or she is not likely to deviate from it,” she tasked parents to improve on parenting skills.

While also pin-pointing peer pressure as another cause of high drug addiction rate in our society, Obot Bassey still demanded that parents must plant early seeds of good values in their wards, so that no matter the bad influence they get exposed to in the community or schools, the core values and moral norms earlier ingrained into their mind at the early stage of life, will help their resist the temptation by peers to take into drug addiction.

“Peer pressure is another cause of this problem, and that is why the core value and morals planted during the parenting stage is key. This is so because once your children are about ten years, they are likely to go to secondary school, they are likely to meet other people in school, definitely, they must interact with other people, and then people are influencers in themselves, somebody could easily get influenced by a friend in school, by a teacher in school, by anybody in the society, and that’s where they get into drugs.”

Other causes of drug abuse in society pointed out included Illiteracy, ignorance and poverty. According to her, many people are exposed to circumstances that could cause them mental imbalance, exposing to substance abuse. She advocated, however, for mental balance for people to effectively handle the current economic hardship in the country.

“You will agree with me that with the current harsh situation in the county, you will need to have a mental balance, you still need to be focussed,” stressing that humans will always confront adverse circumstances of life. “You will be confronted with issues of life for as long as you breathe air, so you must be able to balance your thought pattern, you must be able to balance your mental health.”

As the State commander of the agency saddled with the responsibility of stemming the tide of indulgence of young people in substance abuse, how does NDLEA respond to the rate of substance abuse in the communities?

“The first thing we do is sensitization, awareness and advocacy. For example in Akwa Ibom State, we try to reach out to the entire three senatorial districts,” she explained. One of those sensitization exercises was carried out at Uyo recently. The occasion, which drew the attention of the first lady of Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Mrs. Patience Umo Eno and the Deputy Governor, Dr. Mrs. Akon Eyakenyi, was deployed to mount enlightenment campaigns on the need to avoid stigmatization of drug abuse victims, in order to encourage them to recover and healed from substance abuse.

She also revealed that NDLEA is equipped with a rehabilitation centre where victim of substance abuse undergo recovery process of detoxification before re-joining the society. The rehabilitation unit of NDLEA also avails victims of drug abuse with “coping skills, refusal skills and training skills.”

She indicated that the centre has also been inculcating drug abuse education into primary, secondary and tertiary institutions and collaborate with other stakeholders for purposes of education on   substance abuse.

“We also have stakeholders who preach the drug evangelism, for example in Akwa Ibom State, we have what is called drug stakeholders who come together from the pharmaceutical, to the NAPTIP, the education sector, to the judiciary sector to see how we can curb this menace. We also have drug free clubs in schools, we have NYSC drug free clubs, called War Against Drug free clubs, we have what is called NDLEA drug test kits, whereby we know what drug abuse any victim is involved in within five minutes,” she stated.

Currently, the agency is mounting educational programmes to discourage stigmatisation and discrimination against victims of substance abuse, so they can seek help for rehabilitation. Stating that drug abuse is a disease like ulcer, tuberculosis and HIV, stigmatization will shut out people involved in substance abuse from seeking help for fear of being labelled as addicts by the society.

Common harmful substances being abused more by young people include, lizard dung in which they smoke in the place of codeine, sniffing of pit toilet, rubber solution. Others are cannabis sativa also known locally as Indian hemp and methamphetamine from local clandestine laboratories.

Quest News 24

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