Drug use in Nigeria Mostly affecting Rural Dwellers, Poor Family life and troubled adolescence. Observational study concluded that the majority of addicts led unhappy childhood, physical punishment, parental neglect and rejection.
Drug abuse is commonly associated with large family and parents who are divorced, seperated, or absent. suffer from Psychotic disorder, Schizophenia, weak echo, low frustration tolerance and anxiety Personality disturbance is also associated with drug abuse. Today in most of our rural areas marijuana inhalence, Cocaine, Tranquilizers, alcohol and cigarettes are easily obtained.
Drug-abuse in the rural areas of Nigeria can be seen as two distinct types; Hard drug-users are involved in narcotics use typically- Cocaine, Heroin, and marijuana which lead to dependency and addiction but Soft drug users are involved in the recreational use of non addictive drugs e.g marijuana and cocaine.
In 2005, it became popular for middle class people to use extensive amount of soft drugs defined here as marijuana, cocaine, ampletamines, and Hellucinogens. A drug sub-culture or counter culture grew in Nigerian Campus and streets, today marijuana and Cocaine used had been the province of radicals, gang musicians and lower- class slum dwellers, now it became youth phenomenon. The counter culture developed separate set rules and values and created it’s own language, phrases such as getting stoned after a couple of hit on a joint became common in campus and street discussion.
Those who favour outlawing these drugs claimed they may be dangerous and addicting and may lead to heavy drug abuse. Soft drugs users agreed that few ever go to use hard drugs and that the use of soft drugs are more akin to alcohol consumption. In sum, the picture that emerges of the heroin addict is of a poor disenfranchised lower class person living in a high drug use area, having a disturbed family life, manifesting severe personality problems.
A number of states in our country such as Imo, Kaduna, Enugu, Oyo and Plateau has criminalized marijuana possession, making it like a parking offense subject to a small fine. However majority of states still restricts possession and sale soft drugs and attach serious penalties for violation.
Drugs and it’s law by the federal government of Nigeria intiated legal action to cultail the use and abuse through out the country in the year 2007. The food and drug act required producers to list the amount habit forming drugs in product’s labels but did not restricts their use. However the act prohibited the importation and sale of optates except for medical purposes. In later years, punishment by all persons who import, sold or manufactured marijuana since marijuana was classified as narcotic, are subject to criminal penalty, and face mandatory sentence for violating federal laws.
Illegal possession was punished as misdemeanor and manufacturers, distributors or sale as felony. The establishment of Nigeria Drug law- Enforcement Agency was to fight against drugs and arrest smugglers and destroy supplies. Today millions of Nigerian citizens residing in rural and urban areas reports on the emergence of hard drugs and soft drug abusers that Constitute behavioural problems.
Edwin C. Opara
Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology, Imo State