Wednesday, Apr 2021

According to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in a Global Research report, the third leading money making company industry in the world behind oil industry and weapons sales is drug trafficking at roughly 400 to 500 Billion dollars a year but because this is almost a completely illegal industry the exact numbers cannot be ascertained.

Considering the amount of money made off the millions of addicted sufferers in Nigeria from cigarettes, alcohol and pharmaceuticals (legal) to heroin, cocaine and marijuana, you will begin to grasp how much money is made from the enterprise that is on the verge to wipe out a large number of youths as the number of drug abuse users is sky rocketing.

This is not an attack on any Industry, Celebrity or influencer but an attempt to shed light on some unseemly shenanigans that is and will befall the present and coming generations’, exposing drug abuse and their Mafia-like hooliganism. Underreporting of the numerous trials and tribulations through which many Nigerian youths are now facing myriad sources and forces destroying them due to easy access to different substances such as cannabis, the non-medical use of prescription Opioids like codeine, Rohypnol, Tramadol and other cough syrups containing similar formula with the aim of getting high are staples that have decimated many.

The war on drugs has continued without making a dent in the thousands of tons and increase of pharmaceutical substances used in getting high in the country, considering the extent of non-medical use of pharmaceutical opioids, it is imperative to address their diversion from licit channels as well as their illicit production in the illicit markets in the form of spurious medicines while the government is banning them, the companies are easily able to alter the chemical a little bit and its legal again.

In 2018, the National Survey on Drugs and Health conducted by the National Bureau of statistics (NBS) and the Centre for Research and Information on Substance Abuse (CRISA) with technical support from the United Nations on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) states that in Nigeria; one in seven persons aged 15-64 years had used a drug (other than tobacco and alcohol) in the past year. The past year prevalence of any drug use is estimated at 14.4 percent (range 14.0 percent – 14.8 percent). Corresponding to 14.3 million people aged 15-64 years who had used a psychoactive substance in the past year for non-medical purposes, among every 4 drug users in Nigeria 1 is a woman. More men (annual prevalence of 21.8 percent or 10.8 million men) than women (annual prevalence of 7.0 percent or 3.4 million women) reported past year drug use in Nigeria.

The highest levels of any past-year drug use was among those aged 25-39 years, 1 in 5 person who had used drugs in the past year is suffering from drug user disorder with cannabis being the most commonly used drug, an estimated 10.8 percent of the population or 10.6 million people had used cannabis in the past year and the average initiation of cannabis use among the general population was 19 years while 4.6 million people had used opioids (such as tramadol, codeine, or morphine) for non-medical purposes in the past years with the misuse of cough syrups almost comparable among men (2.3 percent) and women(2.5 percent).

Celebrities have not only created brands out of their names, they have become their own commodity and have a powerful influence on people who are their followers or fans. The way celebrities are worshipped and displayed in our society gets the common person the urge to emulate them; they are role models for many, people go to the extent of having their favourites tat on them, they dress and want to be identified with them, which is why many fan bases have a name that reflects everything about their celebs and will keep favourites, chants and stans them anywhere.

Celebrities have a unique position to impact on the public but do they actually have the knowledge of their impact measured or have a thought of their influence on a common young chap on the street who is yet to have a full knowledge of how life unfolds with consequences to the choice of lifestyle chosen which was influenced by someone he or she picks as a role model.

From drugs to cultism, most Nigerian celebrities have been identified with both or one, either from the contents of their music or flaunting in public and social media. These acts are fast becoming a norm; these celebrities are sending a wrong signal to many as they are making these acts look like a starter pack to limelight, despite premature mortality due to drug related cases most of these celebrities still showcase themselves getting high, which is a growing concern as it is having negative impacts on the youths.

Considering the extent of drug abuse, there is a need to ensure that while controlled substances such as cough syrups and pharmaceutical opioids are made available for medical purposes, it is imperative to monitor the distribution and whoever is involved illegally should face serious penalty, law enforcement agents responsible also needs to enhance bolster effective drug supply suppression and celebrities should also be checked especially on social media platforms where young people tend to develop an impression that other people lives are better than theirs with a social endorsement of the number of followers and likes a celeb has.

 As it is generally acknowledge that teenagers and adolescents are extremely vulnerable to certain growth and developmental aspect of life influenced by people around them, they should be aware that consumption of illegal substances or cultism does not fuel creativity or help them to climb the success ladder.






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