By Usman Muhammad Salihu
The menace of drug abuse, spreading like a wildfire in our contemporary society, is gradually or has already become rampant among many members of our society, ranging from old, young and adult and at the same time men and women, rich and the poor.
Drug abuse is in essence, the misuse of drugs or taking them without doctor’s, physician’s or pharmacy’s directives for the purpose of pleasurable effects on the brain, especially by the youths.
The problem keeps on escalating to the extent that you hardly see a group of ten to fifteen youths without finding a member or two that engage themselves in drug abuse.
Nowadays, many people tend to misunderstand why or how some people become drug abusers to the extent that some people look at those addicts as people who lack proper upbringing and thereby ridiculing them instead of counselling them.
According to the National Institute of Health Espanol, as a person continues to use drugs, the brain adapts by reducing the ability of cells in the reward circuit to respond to it. This reduces the high nature which the person feels compared to the high mood they felt when first taking the drug — an effect known as tolerance. They might take more of the drug to try and achieve the same high mood. These brain adaptations often lead to the person becoming less and less able to derive pleasure from other things they once enjoyed, like food, sex or other social activities. These changes are what lead to drug addiction.
As an addict continues taking drugs improperly, the brain adapts by reducing the number of ability cells in the brain circuit that responds. This reduces the high one enjoys when taking the drugs for the first time and thereby increases the dosage for the enjoyment of the first high. Long-term drug usage causes changes in the brain circuit as well as affects its functions.
Despite that, no one may be able to predict the exact causes of drug abuse and addiction in our society, especially among the youth but rather common factors such as the environment, which includes friends, family, peer pressure, and economic status among others.
Other contributing factors are parental guidance, early exposure to drugs, physical abuse, stress, age, gender inequality, ethnicity, genes and mental disorder, all of these contribute immensely to the phenomenon.
The consequences of drug abuse on Nigerian youth, if not properly curtailed, may result in so many social vices as we witness today. These include; poor academic performance, mental disorder, increasing number of out of school, financial instability, sexual abuse, diseases, difficulties in decision making, depression, anxiety and rampant deaths. Others are troubled relationships, increased crime rate in society, hopeless feelings, etc.
Despite the above-mentioned effects, many youths continue engaging themselves in drug abuse how would one measure the future of our youths in Nigeria? Doom indeed!
Drug abuse is a disease whose quitting takes more than good intentions. It changes the thinking capacity of humans and as such makes quitting it very hard even for those intending to.
But the good news is that drug abuse can be prevented and the best way of resisting and preventing the drug abuse phenomenon in our society is through the creation of awareness of the dangers of the menace. By informing the public about the effects of drug abuse, especially among our youths who are the leaders of tomorrow, the problem will be drastically reduced if not eradicated entirely when teachers, parents, health care providers, media personnel and community leaders join hands together in educating the populace.
Making goodwill intention of resisting drug abuse by an addict, and also seeking God’s intervention is indeed a greater move of bringing an end to the problem.
Usman Muhammad Salihu is an HND 1 student of Mass Communication, Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic Bauchi State. He can be reached via email@example.com.
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