“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
As the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) reported seizures of fifty-three containers containing tramadol and other pharmaceutical products from Lagos ports last week, the menace of abuse of the product in Nigeria comes to bare again.
The abuse of drugs and other substance 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.
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.
Some of the challenges leading to drugs and substance abuse, include; inferiority complex, feel-good drive and sexual performance; however, 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.
Speaking passionately about the problem at the Tin Can Customs Command, the Customs Area Controller at the Command, CAC Musa Baba Abdullahi lamented that the illegal tramadol import continues to increase.
“This tramadol issue is addictive and it leads to other illicit vices like stealing, armed robbery among others. In the Northern part of the country, the problem has ravaged the region and it is an issue that demands urgent attention from all stakeholders including the press. The need for enlightenment on this issue can never be overemphasized” he said while briefing journalists after the seizure of thirteen containers of tramadol.
Recall that forty containers of tramadol and other pharmaceutical products were seized and displayed at Apapa Customs Command by the CG of Customs a day earlier.
Although everybody must be involved in the fight against this problem, concerted efforts should be made the government via schools, religious gatherings and media campaigns 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!