Opinion

Ending drug abuse, illicit trafficking in Nigeria

I t’s indisputable that unwholesome use of drugs has apparently kept countless societies across the globe in a state of jeopardy, thereby rendering most affected individuals virtually useless and incapacitated. June 26 annually, the global community commemorates International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Hence, this year’s edition would be observed next Sunday.

The day is being observed by all the United Nations (UN) Member States towards sensitizing the general public on the evitable dangers inherent in drug abuse and its illegal trafficking, and how the societal cankerworm can be holistically crucified.

The day was established by law in the year 1987 by the UN, following the unanimous resolution reached on 7th December 1987 by its General Assembly. The said Assembly decided to adopt the annual ritual as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation in order to achieve the goal of seeing an International Society that is totally free from all forms of drug abuse. The last time I checked, one of the optimum desires of any society in a sober state was to experience a serene and tranquil atmosphere, and the Nigerian society isn’t exceptional. In other words, every man’s paramount desire is to embrace a trouble-free environment or atmosphere since every society is comprised at least a man. This significantly means that a Nigerian, on the average, looks forward to embracing a Nigerian society that can wholly boast of a trouble-free environment.

An abuse, in a nutshell, can be described as a misuse of anything; whilst drug is any substance used as a medicine or an illegal substance taken for its stimulating and other effects. Thus, drug abuse is simply the misuse of a substance used either as a medicine or stimulant. On its part, illicit drug trafficking is an act involving an illegal trading in drugs or other related substances forbidden by law. Considering the above definitions, apparently drug abuse is a social ill that involves two distinct dimensions.

It could be the misuse of a substance used as a medicine or the improper intake of medicine by an individual. Secondly, it could be the intake or misuse of a stimulant that’s not supported by law such as cocaine, cannabis, marijuana, and Indian helm, just to mention but a few. The former is often as a result of ignorance or negligence, while the latter is wholly a criminal and illegal act, and appears to be more dangerous to both human and animal health when compared to the former.

Prior to the resolution for an International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in 1987, the UN General Assembly understood that in spite of the continual and increasing efforts by the international community, the global drug predicament continued to constitute a severe threat to public health, the safety and well-being of humanity especially the young people, and the national security and sovereignty of States, thereby undermining the socio-economic and political stability of the affected nations. Thereafter the resolution was reached, the Assembly encouraged the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to continue its work on International Drug Control, and went further to urge all governments to provide the fullest possible financial cum political assistance to enable the organization actualize its objectives.

The UNODC recognizes that the effort of every stakeholder and corporate body is required toward actualizing the prime motive of this commemoration. To this end, towards this year’s celebration, I call on governments, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), religious bodies, civil societies, medical experts, every concerned law enforcement agency, the media, and all well-meaning individuals across the globe, particularly Nigeria, to do everything humanly possible to raise awareness of the unquantifiable harm caused by drug abuse and its illicit trafficking. We can contribute our respective quotas by ensuring that anyone caught in the act is reported to the apt quarter as soon as possible to enable the law act aptly as requested. Similarly, the Traditional Rulers can be of vital help by fishing out the bad eggs in their midst regarding drug abuse and thereafter drag them to the nearby police station for onward prosecution.

In regard to self-medication and other forms of drug abuse attributed to ignorance or lack of orientation, a thorough awareness campaign on the dangers of intake of drugs without the consent of a qualified physician ought to be embarked on by every relevant body such as the civil society and religious institutions, and every avenue including the mass media should be used to reach out to the general public.

The plight occasioned by illicit trafficking cannot be adequately addressed without the candid and thorough involvement of such concerned authorities as the Nigerian Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS). The former, which is apparently doing wonders in the country, must intensify efforts by ensuring their personnel are aptly mounted on the various major roads to ensure various vehicles as well as travellers are duly checked if necessary. The latter ought to equally endeavour to work hand-in-hand with the former at the various borders in a bid to attaining accuracy and efficiency. Both agencies shouldn’t hesitate, either individually or collectively, to prosecute any suspect no matter whose ox is gored to serve as a deterrent to other intending traffickers. Above all, the Ministry of Interior must ensure all the relevant agencies or commissions are living up to the expectations, come rain come shine. On their part, the individuals or group of persons abusing the drugs are advised to help themselves.

They ought to acknowledge the fact that misuse of medicine such as self-medication, consumption of medicine without consulting an apt medical expert, and intake of over/under dose contrary to the doctor’s prescription, are all a death-trap that could take one’s life unannounced. Those who take hard drugs or the ones the law forbids, which invariably lead to anxiety, panic, depression, brain fag or damage of brain cells, mental imbalance, protracted illnesses, death, or what have you, should note that the ongoing restrictions as stipulated by law are solely for the sake of their well-being. On their part, the persons or groups involved in the illegal cultivation, production, or trafficking of the hard drugs ought to be aware that many have lost their precious lives in the process while many are presently rotting in jail.

Though most of these hard drugs are very useful raw-materials often used in several firms to manufacture a quite number of useful products or finished goods, the obvious fact remains that we’re not meant to consume them when they are still in their raw states. Thus, we must be very conscious of this caution irrespective of the circumstance we find ourselves.

There is also need for us to acknowledge that absolute decency is required while consuming those stimulants that are not forbidden by law, such as snuff popularly known as ‘Utaba’, cigarette, cigar, whisky, as well as dry gin otherwise referred to as ‘Kai-Kai’ in the local parlance, et cetera. We are required to comport ourselves in whatever action we take or while exercising any lifestyle, so our paramount desire of embracing a trouble-free and tranquil society would be duly actualized. Think about it!

 

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