Things are falling apart. Many mishaps are happening in the society as people are getting more corrupt, dubious and crazy. Individuals especially youths are taking to hard drugs, addicting to it as an escape route to hardship, suffering or depression. Victims claim that taking drugs is one way they can subdue frustration and think less about the nearly hopeless situation in the country.
Addiction begins with the hope that something “out there” can instantly fill up the emptiness inside
– Jean Kilbourne, a public speaker.
Drug abuse is never an option. The negative consequences of drug abuse affect not only individuals who abuse drugs but also their families, friends, various businesses, and government resources. The most obvious effects of drug abuse, which are manifested in the individuals who abuse drugs; include ill health, sickness, madness and, ultimately, death.
Children of individuals who abuse drugs often are abused or neglected as a result of the individuals’ preoccupation with drugs. National-level studies have shown that parents who abuse drugs often put their need to obtain and abuse drugs before the health and welfare of their children. They are often physically or emotionally abused and often lack proper immunizations, medical care, dental care, and necessities such as food, water, and shelter.
The risk is even greater when their parents or guardians manufacture illicit drugs such as methamphetamine. A medical expert said, “It is very addictive and affects the central nervous system of whoever takes it. It creates a feeling of massive happiness that is very addictive and makes the taker want to fly. When the effect wears off, the taker tries to have that feeling again thereby taking it again”.
Methamphetamine abusers often produce the drug in their own homes and apartments, using hazardous chemicals such as hydriodic acid, iodine, and anhydrous ammonia. Children who inhabit such homes often inhale dangerous chemical fumes and gases or ingest toxic chemicals or illicit drugs. These children commonly test positive for methamphetamine and suffer from both short- and long-term health consequences.
The economic impact of drug abuse on businesses whose employees abuse drugs can be significant. While many drug abusers are unable to attain or hold full-time employment, those who do work put others at risk, particularly when employed in positions where even a minor degree of impairment could be catastrophic; airline pilots, air traffic controllers, train operators, and bus drivers are just a few examples.
Research shows that most users of hard drugs like crystal methamphetamine neglect food and continue to use it to increase euphoria. Users put up a bolder, aggressive, impulsive and violent behavioral pattern. Overall, they exhibit behavioral traits that are out of the ordinary. What this drug does to a person is increase the amount of a chemical called dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is an excitatory neurotransmitter; it controls the nerves, which can make the person restless.
Long usage of hard drugs or abuse of it deteriorates the brain functions. The functions of thought, cognition, emotion, perception, feelings and even behavior start to become affected. The individual usually becomes more anxious and confused. The brain becomes rewired as the individual becomes dependent on the substance, severing aspects of their personal lives; it drives them to criminal activities and other worse things.
The economic consequences of drug abuse severely burden Federal, State, and Local government resources and, ultimately, the taxpayer. This effect is most evident with methamphetamine. Children, law enforcement personnel, emergency responders, and those who live at or near methamphetamine production sites have been seriously injured or killed as a result of methamphetamine production. Methamphetamine users often require extensive medical treatment; some abuse, neglect, and abandon their children, adding to social services costs; some also commit a host of other crimes including domestic violence, assault, burglary, and identity theft.
There is need to address this ravaging challenge of hard drug in our society today by providing a lasting solution as a matter of national urgency and emergency.
It is established that the main reason people get addicted to drugs or alcohol is to escape reality, but the truth is, the absence of feelings is no replacement for reality – the problems still remain. Addicts do not choose to get addicted; they only choose to deny their pains momentarily. Numbing that pain temporarily will make it worse when it is eventually felt. The surging demand for illicit drugs has become alarming, given their accessibility and availability on the streets and in most towns in Nigeria. Addicts must take deliberate, concerted and uneasy steps to disabuse and condition their minds to break free from the self-prison of addiction.
A former drug addict has this to say;
“It is something that makes people bigger than they are and pushes them to look down on others. Although a lot of people are just finding out about crystal meth, it has been in existence for many years. I had it while I was in the UK. Unfortunately in Nigeria, anything we do, we do it to the extreme and that is why it is blowing up in everyone’s faces.
“While I was taking drugs including crystal meth in the UK, it lasted for about seven years down to when I got back to Nigeria and it became really bad that I started living in the ‘Bunks’ (where drugs are sold and used without disturbance) even though I came from a very good and religious background. One day within seven years, my mum who was my support system came to get me from the bunks and this made me suicidal. I decided to drink poison after which I was rushed to the hospital where I was admitted for three days before regaining consciousness”.
“My mum continuously prayed for me. I believe Jesus saved me. After this incident, my addiction to drugs died miraculously. Scientifically, it is not believable, because this was me who smoked at least 30 sticks of cigarettes, with heroin daily, and the craving for this died naturally. I had four friends who died from a drug overdose”.
“After then, I started a foundation where we educate, enlighten and sensitize young people in schools and other gatherings on the dangers associated with drug abuse”.
He noted that abstaining from taking hard drugs was the most difficult thing ever.
“I never tell people that it is easy; instead, I tell them that they would have to fight a battle against it tooth and nail. We found out that using stimulants is probably more pleasurable than sex. While I was on drugs, I wasn’t interested in having sex because it seemed like the most enjoyable thing to me. I’m using this analogy so you can understand how difficult it is to stop.”
Giving insight on how an addict to the substance could be rehabilitated, he said:
“A victim needs to know he or she needs help because they are in a situation where they cannot help themselves. They now need professional assistance; they have to go through the process of rehabilitation, isolation, detoxification, reintegration and aftercare because when you recover, you cannot be allowed to go back into society just like that; the person will relapse.”
For us to get it right there must be collaboration between all segments of society to address this drug challenge. Parents, guardians, schools, government, health care providers, patriotic individuals, non-governmental organisations, pharmaceutical industries, and media houses have huge roles to play together in order to curb the menace of drug abuse. When all hands are on deck, this huge challenge of drug addiction and abuse in the country becomes surmountable.
We should remember that our act today will definitely determine our tomorrow. Each person developing the discipline to desist from habits that kills create a better place for everyone. Society does not demand that you help yourself and build up. If you wish it, you must demand it of yourself. You are the ultimate owner of yourself. Your actions should not be influence by external factors but sole decision of yourself.
Remember, the value we create today will determine how our life will turn around.