Drug abuse by young people is a problem in many countries around the world. In our country Nigeria, things are no different. Here, many young people indulge in drugs like marijuana, heroine, cocaine, even alcohol and other psychoactive drugs (like gum, pit, etc). These drugs, and the addiction they can cause, have several negative sociological impact.
The use of illegal drugs was once unheard of in Nigeria. However, with the explosion of pop culture, imported lifestyle, etc, drug use became more popular among our youths. How do we achieve a great future among our youths free from drugs and other societal vices. Let’s join hands and create a better lifestyle for our future leaders.
Preventing drug abuse starts with education. Methods can be implemented in various ways, and you can use different channels within a community to spread the information. The participation and collaboration of families, students, teachers, schools, health-care workers, law enforcement officers, employers, vendors and others can be effective in preventing drug and alcohol abuse as long as financial support and leadership remain constant. It is key to design strategies and policies that fit the specific qualities and needs of people in a community, taking into consideration their beliefs, attitudes and cultures.
Substance abuse prevention begins with the family. The earlier the better. Ideally, parents and children bond while the children are young, building a foundation for communication during the challenging adolescent years. Parents should talk with their children about the dangers of using/abusing alcohol and drugs, including tobacco products. They also must enforce family rules and have expectations for children. Parents should work together on projects and homework, assignments, including those that pertain to substance abuse education.
Educating children about the dangers of substance abuse should begin in preschool with parents, teachers and school administrators taking part. Young children gain by learning to solve problems and deal with emotions, including frustration, stress and anger. They also benefit from learning how to express feelings to others, since suppressed emotions can lead to unhealthy methods of resolving conflicts and problems. Older children in school and high school might discuss the dangers of drug abuse and the influence of peers, television, music, books, magazines and other factors, both environmental and genetic. They also can explore drug resistance skills, critical thinking and how to assert themselves with their peers. School-based substance-abuse prevention programmes should be offered regularly and often; that is why National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) introduced what is called Drug Free Club in schools. These programmes should use instructional videos, school assemblies with special guests, posting of anti-drug signs around school zones and campaigns in which members and their roles are clearly defined. There was a particular private school in Lagos my brand consulting firm handled the brand positioning for. The proprietress never knew I champion illicit drug free society, but she will always tell me: any publication your company carries out for the school, put “Say No To Drugs” on the front page. These words made a serious impact on the students.
Many churches, NGOs, clubs, employers and treatment centers are reliable sources of information and support in the substance-abuse prevention effort. Police and civic leaders, athletes and entertainers, all can play an important role in discouraging the use and abuse of controlled substances. Health clinics and doctors’ offices should display pamphlets and materials that discourage the use of harmful substances and provide information on treatment options. Police and the LGA should work together to rigorously enforce the laws prohibiting underage drinking, driving while intoxicated and illegal drug use. Shopkeepers should protect the younger members of the community by enforcing age requirements when selling tobacco products and alcohol. Thanks to Lagos State Government for the new law on ban on public smoking. I pray it is well implemented. Training and education also should be available to vendors of tobacco products and alcohol, and shops should be closed if they violate the laws. Visible and influential members of the community should promote the anti-drug and alcohol message through ads, signs, lectures and other means. If other state governments should establish no-smoking ordinances in their various states, better for all. Employers who hire youths or students should warn them on drug use and insist on a no-smoking rule at work environment.
Drugs: You use, you lose.
Say No To illicit Drugs.