Drug addiction: Experts want religious, family institutions to address rising moral decay

WORRIED by the rising effects of drug addiction on Nigerian society, experts have called on traditional, religious and family institutions to rise up to the challenge and address concerns of failed parenting and moral decadence in the society.

They further called on the government to take advantage of the ongoing constitutional review to assign more responsible roles to these institutions to curb the devastating effects of drug abuse prevalent among most young adults in Nigeria.

According to a 2018  conducted survey, nearly 15 per cent of adult population in Nigeria (around 14.3 million people) reported a ‘considerable level’ of use of psychoactive drug substances—a rate much higher than the 2016 global average of 5.6 per cent among adults.

The survey was led by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Center for Research and Information on Substance Abuse, both in Nigeria, with technical support from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the European Union.


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It showed the highest levels of drug use were recorded among people aged between 25 to 39, with cannabis being the most widely used drug. Sedatives, heroin, cocaine and the non-medical use of prescription opioids were also noted. The survey excluded the use of tobacco and alcohol.

Some analysts who spoke with The ICIR expressed concern that the government was not allotting enough responsibilities to the aforementioned institutions, stressing that it had  gravely affected the moral fabric of the Nigerian society.

“We must return to basic parenting  101. Most parents are now ‘boys and girls’ in disguise. Some parents are completely lacking in the identity of who they are and what role they should be playing in the life of their kids,”a  Senior Lecturer at the Department of General Studies of the Federal Polytechnic Okoh and specialist in Counselling Psychology Justin Nwankwo told The ICIR

“I think the government must make enabling laws to hold parents responsible for certain behaviours of their kids, especially teenagers and young adults. There must be a consequence of failed parenting in this country.

“The government should hold young people and their parents responsible,” he noted,  adding that ”freedom is not absolute and issues of rights must come with serious responsibility.”

Last week, Nigerian media outlets were awash with the report of  the killing of Super TV Chief Executive Officer Usifor Ataga allegedly by her secret lover Chioma Ojukwu.

Most analysts attributed the suspect’s action to failed parenting and the bad effect of drugs on most young adults, as the suspect confessed to being a drug addict to the police.

Analysts said the rising effect of drug abuse among young adults was hugely linked to the disconnect between most parents and their kids. This action, they said, was already taking its toll on the country’s socio-economic development.

“Unfortunately, parents are not always with the children. The children could be in school for the greater part of the year. Parents should get close to their children, ask questions about their friends, enter the children’s rooms once in a while,” an economist and former Director of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chijioke Ekechukwu told  The ICIR.

“Parents should also observe certain changes in the demeanour of their children. The upbringing of children matters a lot, we should watch what and who we expose them to.

Some analysts are worried that there are still deficiencies in the efforts of the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)  in curbing the menace of drug addiction in society.



    “Apart from arresting people who peddle and take drugs, they should at all times carry out public education about the dangers of drugs to the society,” Acting Executive Director of the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development Monday Osasah told THE ICIR.

    “Drug addiction can damage the future of any youth engaged in it.”

    He further said that the rising menace of banditry and insurgencies in the Nigerian society was largely traced to the influence and intake of drugs by most youths.

    “Government should also ensure that besides NDLEA arresting people and parading them, the full prosecution of the offenders is made known, rather than mere media trial,” he said.

    Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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