By Comrade Mahmud Muhammad, Maiduguri, Borno State
Recent research has revealed that; Drug addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the drug addict and those around them. Drug addiction is a brain disease because the abuse of drugs leads to changes in the structure and functions of the brain and that will invariably affects the entire system in the body.
Drug abuse is a very serious problem which government at all levels and other stakeholders at home and in diaspora must address. The sheer number of Internally Displayed Persons (IDPs) Camps in Borno State alone, which has been put at 28, is enough to send alarm signals. The NDLEA has said that none of these camps is spared this drug problem.
But, drug abuse is not limited to the IDP Camps in Borno State alone. It has become a major problem in Nigeria and the world. The United Nations (UN) Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has revealed that about 200 million people worldwide are using illicit drugs such as cocaine, heroin, cannabis sativa, hallucinogens, opiates and sedative hypnotics. In West Africa, drug addiction, money laundering, political instability and general insecurity are made worse by the global cocaine trade, put at a princely sum of $85 billion.
From the above data, it is easy to see the nexus between drug abuse and global terrorism and insecurity. In the North Eastern Region of Nigeria, the Boko Haram insurgency can be held to be immediately responsible for the upsurge in drug abuse and addiction. The conducive conditions for the malaise are particularly endemic in the North-East.
Dangerous drugs are widely available and some of them, very cheap and easy to procure. When the high profile drugs are not readily available and affordable, some addicts resort to inhaling gum and drinking certain cough syrups. And, the effect is just as potent, if not more potent than what they get with the hard drugs.
So, it is a big problem that we have on our hands. Or better say after effects of Haram insurgency in Borno, this could be more dangerous than fighting the insurgents. Perhaps the situation may retired the rehabilitating the traumatized victims of the insurgency, obviously, Nigeria may find itself dealing with such situation.
As a first step, however, government should address the pressing problems of the IDPs. People forced out of their natural environments and comfort zones already face a number of psychological and physical problems. In the case of the Borno IDPs, many of them are still caught in the trauma of losing loved ones and entire families in the most harrowing circumstances. They need special care and attention. Apart from food, medicines, shelter, clothing and a generally conducive environment, most of these IDPs, especially those who have become addicted to drugs, need drug addiction and trauma experts to help them manage their huge burdens. As a concerned citizens, we have to worry about these IDPs and do everything to restore them to normal life outside the camps.
The resources required for the effective care and complete rehabilitation of these people are clearly beyond the purview of the states and Federal Government. That is why we appeal for even more support from the international community, relevant donor agencies and all well meaning Nigerians to come in and salvage humanity from distergration arising from drug use and abuse. As the saying goes a society that’s has a greater percentage of drug addicts is more likely to be comparativelly less productive and less effective in terms of growth and development. We must hilistically fight the menance of drugs use and abuse in our society for the betterment of the society, the present and of course the generation yet unborn.
May God in his infinite mercy protect, preserve and conserve us from the calamities of drug abuse. May He restore back total peace to our dear Borno and the Nation by extension. May our youth be a productive youth around the nation and beyond.
Join me in the fight against drug abuse in our society Thank you!
Comrade Mahmud Muhammad,
Borno Social Media Frontiers (BSF)