YOUTHS AND DRUG ABUSE IN NIGERIA: CHALLENGE FOR THE NIGERIAN CHURCHES
Drug abuse among youths in Nigeria has been a problem to the youths and the society in General. The consequences of drug abuse are not only on the individual user but also on his or her offspring, family and the society.
This work is expected to create awareness, expose and provide useful information to people especially to the Nigerian youths on the effects of drug abuse and the challenges for the Nigerian churches towards drug abuse in Nigeria.
Chapter one is an introductory chapter. It discusses the usefulness of drug in the life of a living thing and how it is being abused in Nigeria by the youths.
The second chapter reviews the works of authors on drug abuse. The third chapter explains much about drug. There are a lot of substance like alcohol, cannabis, heroine etc and most of them were discussed including their abuses, uses, effects, causes of drug abuse etc. Chapter four discusses the challenges for the Nigerian churches on drug abuse in the Nigerian society. In this chapter, the researcher dwelt on what the church should do to control or stop drug abuse in Nigeria.
If the Nigerian youths should stop abusing drugs, they will be useful to themselves, their families and the society in general.
Background of the Study
Drugs are commonly used by everybody whether young or old. Drugs are not only useful for human beings; they are also useful for animals for good health. Human beings give drugs to their animals when they discovered that they are not healthy. Drug is an effective substance in the life of any living thing to cure sickness and to make life healthy. It is true that drugs are used for beneficent therapeutic purposes, effective substance for good health, but they are being abused by people especially youths. They use it illegally and unlawfully, thus it becomes harmful to the body.
The impact of drug abuse among Nigerian youths has been considered a moral decadent. Drug abuse has made the face of the Nigerian youths rough and brought shame to our society. The Nigerian youths are deliberately using drugs illegally, unlawfully and intentionally.
Many of our youths ignorantly or knowingly depend on one drug or the other for their daily activities. According to the statistics provided by World Health Organization (WHO), drug including alcohol and tobacco, have caused a lot of road accidents and have claimed more lives than other sicknesses suffered by mankind. As International Drug Trafficking is gaining strength, the international cooperation against drug trafficking is steadily loosing strength and lacking organization.
The report from world narcotics has shown that confiscation level has fallen below 10 percent of the global circulation level of drug international mortality figures for drug abuse have tripled since 1988. In the United States, medical emergencies coming from cocaine taken rose by 1000 percent between 1976-1993, in the case of the heroine by 6 percent from 1988-1993 and by 155 percent in the case of cannabis. Cocaine addicts between the age of 12 and 17 increased by 166 percent from 1994-1995 in various countries. Drugs are being abused everyday.
In Nigeria, this issue of drug abuse has been a serious concern for the society. Youths have taken to drug abuse. In recent times, the rate at which youths abuse drugs have been so alarming and worrisome that much effort have been made to eradicate it. As the youths are abusing drugs, the effort being made to eradicate it is losing strength. Drug abuse and addiction have a destructive or devastating consequences but our youths are still into drugs. “Not only that it destroys the affected individual but it has a pervasive effect on all those who know or work with the individual (Barber, 1967:85). Drug addiction is a tragedy in our Nigerian society.
Statement of Problem
Drug abuse among youths in Nigeria is now a common phenomenon. Females are not exempt in this evil act. A recent research shows that 15-20 percent of drug addicts are females while males constitute about 50-55 percent,
all comprising of traders, students, unskilled workers and the unemployed as shown by a retrospective study carried out by NDLEA (Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency).
Drug abuse has contributed in the set back of the society. Inspite of this, many youths do still indulge in it. In many psychiatric hospitals in Nigeria, many of our youths are there undergoing drug treatment. The number of the youths that are insane are more than old people that are insane and youths insanity is mostly caused by drug abuse. Some youths are school drop-outs because they could not continue due to the rate of drug they have taken that resulted to their insanity. University of Nigeria Nsukka is not an exception. Many youths are homeless, wanderers, derelicts, unemployed, rapist, thugs, armed robbers and so on because they are drug addicts. A lot of lives and property have been wasted in accident and violence because of drug. Youths that are supposed to be the hope of their families and the society at large and useful to themselves have wasted their lives, all because of drugs and it has been a serious problem in Nigeria.
Aim of the Study
The aim of this study is to make the Nigerian youths to be aware of the dangers of drug abuse, to bring out the roles especially that of the church in controlling drug abuse in Nigeria and to direct the youths on the way to follow
to become useful to themselves, their families and to the Nigerian society at large.
To achieve this aim, the researcher is advocating that all hands should be on deck to curb this menace called drug abuse.
Significance of the Study
This work is significant because drug and it’s abuse were exposed here. The role of the church concerning drug abuse were also examined. Through this study, drug abuse among youths in Nigeria will be addressed with a view to finding lasting solutions to the problem.
This work will also be of great benefits to the Nigerian youths because it will make them know the implication of drug and it’s abuse.
If the church should really carry out their role towards drug abuse in Nigeria, it will be reduced or put to stop and Nigerian youths will turn over a new leaf and make positive contributions to their families and to the society at large.
Scope of the Study
The study is on the youths and drug abuse and challenges for the Nigerian churches on drug abuse in the Nigerian society.
Apart from the topic itself, many areas about drug abuse were treated in this research work.
Materials for this research were from primary and secondary sources. The primary one are from oral interview, whereby people were interviewed especially people that have experience of drug abuse or people that were drug addicts and their close associates.
Secondly, books that were written on this topic and other relevant materials were used. It is very interesting to note that the books used helped immensely in giving the relevant information for this research. Texts were critically assessed and the relevant information were taken. In delivering the text the critical analytical method was applied.
Definition of Related Terms
The importance of definition of terms in any academic work cannot be over emphasized. It is therefore necessary to define some terms in this work.
Youth: Summer (2003:1920), defines youth as “the period of time when someone is young especially the period when someone is a teenager”. From Hornby (2000:1389), “youth is the time of life when a person is young, especially the time before a child becomes an adult”.
Drug: Hornby (2000:359), (1) “an illegal substance that some people smoke, inject, etc. to give them pleasant or exciting feelings”. (2) “a substance used as a medicine or used in a medicine”. Onah (1982:2) defines drug as “any chemical
substance that has an effect upon the body or mind, by modifying one or more of the terms”.
Abuse: “It is the use of something in a way that is wrong or harmful” (Hornby, 2000:5)
Drug Abuse: Onah (1982:2), Sees it as “It is an excessive or inappropriate use of a drug by a person; such use being considered or judged to be illegal (immoral) by the culture and also resulting in harm to the person or society”. From Aka and Akunyili (2003:60), drug abuse refers to drug use mainly by self- medication in a manner that deviates from approved medical or social patterns”. Church: Alan (1950:46), explains that “Church is generally derived from Greek “Kuriakon” the Lord’s house, a building for Christian worship”. Church in New Testament is translated to Greek “ecclesia”, which always means an assembly of people and cannot mean building. For Davis (1944:111), “Church is the Lord’s house and an organized community or people acknowledging the Lord Jesus Christ as their Supreme Ruler, and meeting steadily or as opportunities offered, for religious worship”. Okwueze (2003:152), defines it as an organized body of followers of Jesus. In the context of this research work, church has to do with people and not building.
Therapy: For Summer (2003:483), “therapy is the treatment of an illness or injury”. Hornby (2000:1241), defined therapy as “the treatment of a physical problem or an illness”.
Alcohol: Hornby (2000:26), “Drinks such as beer, wine, etc that can make people drunk or that colourless liquid that is found in drinks such as beer, wine etc and is used in medicines, cleaning product, etc”.
Alcoholism: Royce (1989:10), “The use of alcohol that results or interferes with personal life including school, job, family, friends, health, food, the law or spiritual life”..