*says it causes electoral violence, mental illness, academic failure, societal disorder
By; MKPUMA OMOKE
Following the high rate of drug abuse among young people in our society today, a non governmental organization popularly known as Development And Integrity Intervention Goal Foundation in collaboration with United Nations Office On Drug And Crime (UNODC) DAPC Grant has warned youth against substance abuse.
The warning is in view of its devastating consequences that leads to electoral violence, mental illness, academic failure and societal disorder.
The group expressed this during a live interactive radio programme in Abakaliki, urging youth to desist from every form of drug abuse because of its consequences on their individual lives and the society at large.
Speaking during the programme, the Principal Criminal Psychologist in Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Mr. Eze Nsi Ude while chronicling the consequences of drug abuse more especially among young people, stated that substances have overriding effects on every aspect of one’s life when addicted, adding that evidence has shown that youth indulgence has been the reason behind drug abuse, noting that, “drug free action among the youth simply means how to take children away from drugs.
He further explained that there is a link between drug abuse and mental illness which has made some victims to start misbehaving on the streets and thereby, stands as a threat to the society because the politicians use them as instruments of electoral violence, which can lead to loss of lives and property, adding that over 80% of the youth today are into drug abuse.
“Drugs have implications on youth and even the adult. The implications can be multifaceted in the sense that it cuts across both the family, individual, the community and the society at large.
“It contributes to electoral violence in the following ways:
“Quick money syndrome with the old, the young and the elderly wanting to make money by all means and it appears that the quickest way of making money today is through politics and drug dealing and because of that, people do all manner of things to secure that power and position in politics because the belief that once they clinch that power, heaven is their starting point and of course they will make money which leads to a lot of political crisis we have today.
“The personal implications of substance abuse to the victim as the case may be, is that there is a strong link between substance abuse and mental illness. For example, youth are being carried away by a local substance popularly called ‘Mkpurummiri’.
“Whenever they are intoxicated with this drug, you see them roaming the streets and be misbehaving and all these has a strong link with the substances they use.
“My experience in the hospital has shown that 80% of the youth today are into drug abuse, particularly methamphetamine, Traumadol, cocaine, marijuana etc, and it affects their mental health; making them to start misbehaving and also affects them academically, which is the reason why we have high rates of school dropouts among the youth today from the university and other institutions.”
Mr. Nsi Ude also added that drug abuse affects interpersonal relationship because when people are under the influence of alcohol, they misbehave and it affects the way they relate with each other and also affects the family because the money that would have been used to solve problems will be diverted to drugs and before you know it, the person will start having squabbles with his wife which indirectly affects the society because when many people are involved in drug abuse or drug addiction, they cannot contribute meaningfully.
On his part, the Director of Child Development, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mr. Igwe Godwin said that children are more vulnerable to drug abuse because most of them watch their parents take some of those illicit drugs such as alcohol, tobacco, cocaine etc, thereby exposing their children to the substances early in life.
He also added that night parties and influence of peer groups equally contribute to abuse in the society.
In their separate contributions, the Deputy Director and HOD Sports Development in the Ministry of Youths and Sports Development, Mr. Kama Kay and the Executive Director, Development and Integrity Intervention Goal Foundation, Mr. Oliver Ajah Chima both emphasized that drug substances are being used wrongly by youth because when they are under the influence of alcohol and other substances, they can cause havoc in the society, saying that it is part of things the organization wants to address to ensure that they stop it through this public enlightenment on the negative effects of those substances they are taking.
They lamented that the level of anxiety and unemployment in the society has contributed to this ugly trend and therefore, called on government agencies and other NGOs to assist in the fight against drug abuse.
The 2022 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking came with the theme, “Addressing Drug Challenges In Health And Humanitarian Crisis ” which also featured School outreach/sensitization, community outreach, advocacy for drug free action, distribution of IEC materials and live interactive radio programme.