“Addiction is a tough illness, and recovery from it is a hard but noble path. Men and women who walk that path deserve our support, encouragement, and admiration” – Sheldon Whitehouse
Drug abuse has become a common phenomenon around the world and an epidemic which deserves timely and concerted efforts to be curbed. The issue has drawn interest from non-governmental organizations, individuals, groups as well as government agencies all over the world, including religious bodies yet it continues to thrive. This problem isn’t limited by geography, gender, social status or age.
In 2013, Nigeria was only considered as a transit nation for illicit drugs; however the country is currently classified as one of the leading nations in the growing trend of drug and substance abuse on the international scene. Youths in the country have devised more inimical ways of getting high than the popular cigarettes or marijuana, such as sniffing super glues, frogs, aerosol computer cleaners, air fresheners, hair spray or shoe polish, digging graves to inhale the odour of dead bodies, among others.
A comprehensive documentary on the consumption of codeine revealed that about three million bottles codeine containing cough syrups are consumed daily in just two states and about six million bottles in just the North Western part of the country.
The effects of drug abuse are varied and devastating for the individuals involved, the family, nation and the international community which often encompasses medical problems like mental disorder, schizophrenia, liver cirrhosis, lethargy, irritability, cardio-vascular disorders, among others. The social consequences of this problem include; school dropouts, lawlessness, loss of productivity, cultural disorientation, rape, assassinations, cultism, violence, armed robbery, among others.
As part of efforts to curb the proliferation of drugs and substance abuse in Nigeria, Christ Embassy Church has begun a behaviourial change initiative intended to purge the nation of the epidemic and to replace them with godly virtues.
The Group Pastor of Christ Embassy Afromedia Group, Pastor Kameos Omosivwe led this campaign in series of Sunday services in the last two weeks, liaising with District Police Officers within the catchment as well as other notable dignitaries in order to curb the menace.
Highlighting some of the challenges leading to drugs and substance abuse, he mentioned; inferiority complex, feel-good drive and sexual performance; however, he stressed that Jesus Christ is the answer to these problems.
“There is no better state in accomplishing anything than when you are you. Every act of drug/ substance abuse destroys the life of the person taking it. Come out from these abuses because there is something that gives you ability to achieve anything you desire without destroying you and that’s the Holy Spirit” he said.
He equally admonished the congregation and other individuals to use drugs in line with doctor’s prescription and jettison the practice of buying drugs in buses as the sellers are usually marketers trained to say nice things in order to sell the drugs.
While the efforts of the church should be commended, everybody must be involved in the fight against this problem. Concerted efforts should be made to educate the youths on this endemic and the availability of drugs should be limited to professionals only as it is practiced in other climes.
Parents should create enough time to attend to the needs of their children and guide them properly as they journey into adulthood and family size should be limited to reflect the socio-economic status of families in the nation.
Peer pressure has fueled the problem but it can also be positively utilized to move their individuals away from drug abuse and prevent such cases from re-occurring. A good example is the Teens Ministry in Christ Embassy where youth-friendly videos, books and internet content is developed to transform young ones into citizens with meaningful and impactful ideology about life.
It’s time to act and brace-up to this vendetta against drug and substance abuse in Nigeria. Let’s make the country a better place for everyone!