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Sunday, 29 July 2018

Drug Abuse among Nigerian Youths

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Some youths in the country today think that they know more than the experts in a particular field of study. They even see their elders as people that practiced "old school" lifestyle and therefore cannot tell them (the youths) what to do. They prefer
to do that which is in their minds and end up blaming themselves in the future.

The rate at which the youths abuse drugs is alarming. It gets worse on daily basis. Some see it as nothing and a way of life. They forgot that some things that are sweet can silently kill.

What is drug abuse?
According to Dr Ananya Mandal of News Medical, drug abuse or substance abuse refers to the use of certain chemicals for the purpose of creating pleasurable effects on the brain. Medical Dictionary defined drug abuse as habitual use of drugs not needed for therapeutic purposes, solely to alter one's mood, affect, or state of consciousness, or to affect a body function unnecessarily (as in laxative abuse).World Health Organisation, WHO, describes drugs and substance abuse as “the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs.”

"There are over 190 million drug users around the world and the problem has been increasing at alarming rates, especially among young adults under the age of 30. The 2018 World Drug report released by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on 26th June 2018 states  that in 2015, there were 450000 deaths that have occurred due to drug use and its complications.".

The youths of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have taken substance abuse as a culture. In rural and urban communities of the country, it is common. It is trending and many are not ready to stop it.
"Over fifty percent of youths and women in Kaduna State are into drug abuse, the State Bureau for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment has said (Channels TV Report 2016)".

In Nigerian universities and institutions of higher learning, abuse of marijuana, tramadol and codeine are everyday practice. These three drugs are the most abused in the country by the youths. It is hard to visit any off-campus hostel in the universities in the country without seeing any student that abuses any of the mentioned drugs. United Nations data reported that Nigeria has the highest level of abuse of cannabis (marijuana) in Africa (2011 Report of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime).

"The number of illicit drugs seized by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) stood at a whooping 309, 713kg in 2017 with cannabis and tramadol accounting 90 percent, a report from the National Bureau Statistics (NBS) on drug seizures and arrest statistics says - Business Day News."

Because of the abuse of codeine by Nigerians, largely youths of the century between the age 18-30 years, federal government of Nigeria banned the importation of codeine as active pharmaceutical ingredient for cough drugs preparations. The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole made this known in his office in Abuja on Tuesday, May 1, 2018.

Effect of Marijuana 
Image source: Noticias

Here, we will be looking at the negative effects of Marijuana on youths. Marijuana has many side effects which many youths do not know. Among the side effects of the abuse of the drug are:

Greater chances of being unemployed or not getting good jobs
No good owner of a particular company will like to employ someone who may act in an abnormal way at any point in time. On the other hand, because marijuana is a banned product in the country, no company will be pleased to have his company workers as the offenders of the law. This in one way or the other affects the reputation of the company negatively. It is good for employers to know the kind of staff they employ in their organizations so as to maintain some level of clean sheet and do not dent their image. On the other hand, drug abuse can reduce a person's employment prospects, both by reducing productivity and by decreasing the chance of getting a job in the first place, especially if an employer tests applicants for illegal drug consumption. –Federal Reserve Bank of ST Louis (Central of America’s Economy).

Decline in IQ
IQ stands for intelligent quotient. Marijuana is a psychoactive plant. It affects the brain of the consumers. As a result of this, it gradually lowers the IQ of people that "swim" in it.

A more recent study published in 2012 suggests that heavy cannabis use during adolescence and teen years can lead to cognitive decline. The research examined 1,037 individuals and followed them from birth to year 38. The researchers found that chronic cannabis consumption over a twenty-year span was associated with a loss of 6 IQ points.

There have been students who were doing well in their initial studies but they began to drop in their academic performance since they found themselves into drug abuse. And one of the drugs highly abused in Nigeria is cannabis. Many nearly dropped out of school because of their poor performance due to drug abuse.

Students who were into taking of this weed have narrated their experiences on how it affected their performance in school. Many of them made it open when they were undergoing rehabilitation.

Twenty three years old Jasper from Abia State, who was very brilliant back in secondary school started smoking marijuana at age 17, the same year he got admission into the university.

Jasper started well in class until he was introduced to smoking cigarette and then marijuana. "At a point I wasn't getting satisfaction from marijuana. That was how I decided to look for substances that will give me a stronger feeling. I then decided to be living on tramadol, rohypnol and codeine," he said.

Like the euphoria it gave him, Jasper started missing classes, started spending all his school money on drugs because he needed to maintain the certain level of that 'highness' constantly. Exams came and he couldn't cope until he was advised by the management to withdraw; all within his first year in school.

Severe anxiety, including fear that one is being watched or followed (paranoia)
Sometimes when they smoke cannabis, in their high, they talk as if they can do everything in life. These things happen because the drug has started working in them already. They perceive everything as being simple and common.

But immediately it clears from their eyes, fear grips them. Even if they are in their rooms in the night and hear a little step of passerby, they become afraid. That's the effect of the marijuana they were taking.
Some of them while walking on the road usually have the feeling that someone was following them. When they turned their back, they do not see anything. At that point in time, the drug they took performed its work on them. This attitude makes the abusers feel uncomfortable.

Increased heart rate (risk of heart attack)
Many youths who think they are big guys and ladies by smoking of marijuana do not know they call heart attack upon themselves gradually. This may not surface immediately but in the long run. It's a drug that increases heart rate which can result to heart attack.

According to Harvard Health Publishing of Harvard School of Health, "One of the few things scientists know for sure about marijuana and cardiovascular health is that people with established heart disease who are under stress develop chest pain more quickly if they have been smoking marijuana than they would have otherwise. This is because of complex effects cannabinoids have on the cardiovascular system, including raising resting heart rate, dilating blood vessels, and making the heart pump harder. Research suggests that the risk of heart attack is several times higher in the hour after smoking marijuana than it would be normally".

Nigerian youths should say no to drug abuse. It does much more harm than good. They should not use their money to buy what will kill them one day. It is a big error and stupid thing to do. Let us be wise in our decisions and actions as youths. Prevention is better than cure so let us desist from consumption of marijuana, codeine, tramadol and other hard drugs that may cause us pain and discomfort.

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