DRUGS TO DEATH: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
UMAR TSANYAWA, SULEIMAN HARUNA
A DEWDROP PUBLICATION, 2002
Published by Dewdrop Communications, 2002.
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Copyright © Tsanyawa, Haruna. 2002
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FOREWORD By Prof. Isidore S. Obot
I have known Honourable Umar Tsanyawa (one of the authors of this book) since 1999 when, together with other members of the House of Representatives Committee on Drugs and Financial Crimes, he attended the Fourth Biennial National Conference on ‘Drugs and Society’ organized by the Centre for Research and Information on Substance Abuse (CRISA) in Jos. Since then and as a consultant to the Committee I have had the opportunity of interacting with him on many occasions. It is not surprising that Hon. Tsanyawa and his co-author, Mr. Suleiman Haruna, have decided to devote their time and energy to writing this book. Both men have, over the years, demonstrated a commitment to educating the public about the ills that afflict us. In different capacities, one in community health and the other in public enlightenment programmes, both of them have been involved in imparting knowledge for the sake of individual and national development. I congratulate the two of them for this commendable effort.
This book is a welcome initiative for several reasons. Not only is it a needed drug education resource, it is well researched and written with the average reader in mind. In addition, the book is a clear indication of the growing recognition by civil society that the abuse of psychoactive substances – including alcohol, tobacco products and illicit drugs – is contributing to the burden of diseases in Nigeria. The natural response, therefore, for individuals and government alike, is to join forces and work towards the reduction, if not total elimination, of alcohol and drug abuse and associated problems.
These problems are not new in our country. In fact, concerns about drugs started more than forty years ago. It was in the early 1960s when the first alarm was raised about the increasing use of Cannabis (Indian hemp) and stimulants (kwaya) by youth in urban areas. Of course, problems related to excessive consumption of alcohol have been with us for much longer. Unfortunately, the situation has changed dramatically in the past twenty years. Mainly because of drug trafficking through the country’s ports and changing lifestyles of urban youth, new and potent substances (especially cocaine and heroin) seem to have found a home in modern Nigeria.
It is understandable that the attention of government has been focused for many years on eliminating the supply of these illicit drugs. However, it has been the case in other countries and is the case in Nigeria today that a trafficking country sooner or later becomes a using country. Data from school and adult population surveys conducted by the NDLEA and NGOs are clear that Nigerians, like their counterparts in other parts of the world, are using a wide range of substances to ‘get high.’ These surveys also show that cannabis, cocaine, heroin, stimulants, and alcohol are associated with increasing prevalence of psychiatric disorders among youth and young adults.
It is difficult to predict what the future holds but if the observed patterns are maintained, the burden of alcohol and other drugs in Nigeria will escalate in the coming years. Not only will the abuse of these drugs increase but the prevalence of problems like HIV/AIDS, accidents, violence, health conditions, and problems in the workplace which are linked to drug use are bound to increase.
Only a concerted assault on unrestrained availability of licit and illicit drugs, and well-articulated and consistent education programmes will save our children from the ravages of these drugs. For over a decade now, CRISA has been actively involved in the dissemination of information to the public on licit and illicit drugs, and has consistently called on individuals and civil society organizations to treat drug abuse as a problem worthy of serious attention. Similar calls have been made by the NDLEA and the United Nations Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention (UNODCCP). Hon. Tsanyawa and Suleiman Haruna have heeded that call. Their contribution to the control of drug abuse in Nigeria through the writing of this book is a commendable act. May their example serve as encouragement to others.
Prof. Isidore S. Obot
Centre for Research and Information
On Substance Abuse (CRISA)
This book will be complete only as a result of the contribution of a lot of organizations and individuals including NDLEA, NAFDAC, FRSC, The Nigeria Police, and CRISA in Jos. Others include United Nations Information Center, Lagos; UNDCP, Nigeria Office; and ONDCP in the United States, especially for the permission to use the anti drug posters on their websites.
The Honourable Speaker, House of Representatives, Alh. Ghali Umar Na’abba, is a shining light to his colleagues in the National Assembly for the leadership he exudes and which directs all members and committees of the House to perform excellently especially in the area of narcotic drugs, tobacco and financial crimes. The Chairman/CEO NDLEA Alh. Bello Lafiaji has since inception been improving the outlook and functions of the agency. His staff have equally proved versatile in their effort to stem the tide of drug prevalence in Nigeria. Also of note is the effort of the National Assembly. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives and especially their committees on narcotics, for their efforts in facing the challenges of drug abuse and trafficking.
As for individuals, Professor Isidore Obot stands out. Others include Abba B. Muhammad, Legal Adviser, Ministry of Police Affairs; Mrs. Chikezie of NDLEA, Sani Ahmed the legal Adviser NAFDAC; Abubakar Sadiq Muhammad of the National Assembly; Dr. Danjuma Al Mustafa of UNICEF; Abubakar Aliyu Tsafe of the CVU-Office of the President; Mrs. Araba of the United Nations Information Centre, Lagos; Mrs. J. O. Ogunleye, the Executive Secretary, Utilities Charges Commission, Abuja and Sule Ado Sabari.
We have contacted many websites and used their materials during the course of this work, some for posters and others for drug information. They include:
To all these great individuals and organizations, we express our unreserved gratitude.
Whenever the history of the 20th century is recalled, various issues including war and disease would be blamed for depleting world population. Drugs will be mentioned along with them as a kind of voluntary euthanasia for millions of people all around the globe. The scourge of cocaine, marijuana, heroine and others is probably greater than that attributed to disease anywhere in a century that is well known for preventive medicine. Some die for taking the drugs, others die as a result of crime and accidents that relate to drugs. Yet thousands more roam our streets naked as a result of drug-induced madness. Still, others are in jail for drug crimes.
The bulk of all these are young people less than forty years old. Adventurism, get-rich-quick syndrome, stubbornness and negative peer pressure are mostly responsible, yet parents still refuse to talk with their children about bedtime, friends, about school.
Parents, youths and teachers should find this book educative, as it is elementary, and un-academic in nature. It is meant to pass the message raw and the ultimate goal is to deter young people from ever experimenting with drugs. What anti-drugs do you employ? Good friends, questions, honesty, truth, communication, love and good parenting. The time to act is now!
SULEIMAN HARUNA, 2002.
Wave of drugs (poem)
Surf on the wave
And be a slave
And see yourself rave
Be it glug or smoke
Or sniff, huff or coke
Be a great bloke
And throw off the yoke
Your freedom, save
And your death, stave
You must be brave
Even though you crave.
Table of Contents
– Copyright page i
– Foreword ii
– Acknowledgement v
- Preface vii
- Poem viii
- In the Beginning: Chapter One 1
3. Drug – Related Laws: Chapter Two 7
- – UN Conventions
– Other International Efforts
– Local Legislations
- Drug and Their Implications: Chapter Three 25
Alcohol, Tobacco, Cannabis
Steroids, Inhalants, Heroin,
- Abuse and Dependence: The Pertinent Questions:
Chapter Four 42
Criteria for Substance Abuse, Substance Dependence, Signs of Abuse, Stages of Abuse, Why engage in Substance Abuse? Terminal Points of Drugs in The body, Self-Medication, Consequences of Substance Abuse.
- Facts and figures on Drugs: Chapter Five 57
Drug Seizures, Arrests, Prosecutions, Hospital Admissions, Drugs and Road Accidents etc.
- Drugs and Crime: Chapter Six 63
Drug Trafficking, Money Laundering, Forgeries, Local Crime, Murder, Suicide, Assault, Accidents, Intimate Violence etc
- Public Enlightenment Efforts: Chapter Seven 76
Posters and Handbills on Drug Education.
- Religion and Drug Abuse: Chapter Eight 101
Islam and Drug Abuse,
Christianity and Drug Abuse
- Prevention Strategies: Chapter Nine 107
Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Prevention Strategies. Treatment for Drug-dependence.
IN THE BEGINNING
‘Drug abuse is preventable. If children reach adulthood without using illegal drugs, alcohol or tobacco, they are unlikely to develop chemical dependency problems later in life. To this end, the best strategy is to involve parents, coaches, mentors, teachers, clergy and other role models in a broad prevention campaign.
Drug dependence is a chronic relapsing disorder that exacts an enormous cost on individuals, families, business, communities and nations. Addicted individuals frequently engage in self- destructive and criminal behavior. Treatment programs also reduce the consequences of addiction on the rest of society. Along with prevention and treatment; law enforcement is essential for reducing drug use and illegal drug traffic, which inflicts crime, violence and corruption on our communities. It is the first line of defense against such unacceptable activity.’
Barry R. McCaffrey
Former Director ONDCP
The preceding quotation succinctly explains the drug problems that pervade our society. The problem has gradually changed the face of business, politics, medicine law making the world over, it has created for itself a whole new out look, which includes an active army of drug barons, capable of toppling governments; and a passive army of drug abusers, who indulge in criminal behavior and attempt to hold their society to ransom. At the end, their drug abuse leads them to jail, madness, sickness and death.
The Scope of the Drug Problem
Nigeria’s drug problem can be said to be in three broad areas:
- The importation and exportation of hard drugs – This phenomenon has put Nigeria in very negative spotlight. Traffickers use Nigeria to bring in drugs and take them to other destinations. This also is affected by the cultivation of cannabis, which is exported to other countries by the same traffickers.
Another problem, which is introspective, is the abuse by Nigerians of licit and illicit substances, psychoactive, psychotropic and prescription drugs. Giving way to the loss of serious number of man-hours and thousands of young productive people yearly.
- The dumping of psychotropic, dangerous and expired, counterfeit and fake drugs by foreign pharmaceutical concerns in collaboration with Nigerian importers and smugglers has exacerbated the problem of drug abuse and self-medication. This is more so considering the proliferation of drug hawkers all over the country and the problem of poverty, ignorance and dearth of health facilities.
Policy Approaches to the Drug Problem
There are various approaches of dealing with the problems and they included:
- Drug Law Enforcement approach-The use of punitive strategies to detect apprehend, prosecute, convict, imprison or kill drug producers, suppliers, traffickers, and sellers, users and abusers and other necessary enforcements.
- Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment-The use of drug education and drug treatment with the aim of reducing demand.
- Drug Legalization and Decriminalization approach- another approach is to regulate drugs and not criminalize them. This will help control the problem better.
- Harm Reduction Approach – This approach recommends the minimization of the harm associated with the drug abuse like violence, spread of diseases and death due to impurities.
The overall goals of the approaches are three and these are:
- Supply reduction – to provide strong legal provisions, strong destruction campaign, crop eradication, crop substitution, enhanced criminal justice system, tracking and detection;
- Demand reduction – to ensure punishment for possession, use and abuse of drugs. Introduce drug testing, drug education, treatment and rehabilitation, expand opportunities for education, employment, shelter etc;
- Harm reduction – to decriminalize soft drugs and strictly regulate hard drugs, provide health services for drug dependent persons and even offer regulated drug supply for them and introduce feasible integration programs and provide for them relevant information [education and enlightenment].
This research covers vast areas in its nine chapters. The first, which is this, is an overview of the whole book, while the second discusses laws enacted in Nigeria and elsewhere to control the movement and use of drugs. This chapter will help to enlighten young people and their parents to know the penalties for different offences associated with drug abuse. The third is a full brief on all the drugs and their implications, both long and short term. This chapter should easily teach the dangers of every individual drug. The fourth is a chapter on all questions surrounding drugs and answers to them. Young people want to know a lot about these drugs, but ignorance misleads some of them; this chapter will help. Fifth is on facts and figures. Here, we will see the gravity of the drugs in action; drugs and accidents, hospital admissions, rate of consumption, you name it. Sixth is the chapter on drugs and their relationship with crime; they are threefold, find out. The seventh chapter is a pictorial. It will showcase public enlightenment posters. You will relish them. The eight is a chapter on what religion says about the drug problems, both Islam and Christianity have their views reflected. The last chapter is an overview of some prevention strategies, which can help stem the growth of the problem.
There may be need to define some terms, which the reader will frequently come across as he/she reads the book. These are not academic and standard definitions; they are only meant to give an insight into the meaning of the terms.
- Drug – Any chemical substance that alters a person’s normal bodily process or function. It is used interchangeably with ‘substance’.
- Drug Abuse – non therapeutic use of any psychoactive substance, so that it may affect the users bodily function;
- Drug Misuse – inappropriate use of drugs meant for therapeutic purposes contrary to the instruction of qualified medical personnel.
- Drug Use – controlled and approved use of listed substance for medical use as approved by qualified medical personnel.
- Drug Policy – conscious or deliberate course of action by a government to deal with one or more dimensions of drug problems that are of concern to society.
- Illicit Traffic – illegal movement of drugs from one country to another with the purpose of sale or distribution to consumers.
- Drug Courier – person who carries drugs from one place to another especially from one country to another. Sometimes referred to as drug peddler.
- Psychoactive Drug – Drug that are considered as habit forming, which have natural sources like alcohol, cocaine, heroin etc.
- Psychotropic Drug – Drugs that have chemical origins, which are manufactured in a lab like LSD, Benzodiazepines, Amphetamines etc. Also in this category are inhalants like rubber solution, washing blue, paint thinner et cetera which were not manufactured as drugs but are used as drugs.
- Drug Addict/Dependant Person – anybody who has enslaved himself to taking drugs without which his body cannot function properly, and who manifests serious sickness anytime he decides to quit.
- Hard drugs – illegal [illicit] drugs
- Soft drugs – Legal [licit] drugs.
DRUG -RELATED LAWS
It is necessary for the reader to know what level of attention the drug problem has attracted around the World. Both International and regional efforts have led to many laws introduced to control the spread of drugs and their abuse. The United Nations since the days of the League of Nations has introduced many protocols and offices to handle various drug-related functions. In Nigeria too, even before independence, attention has been given to drug-related problems.
The need for this chapter is to create awareness and consciousness of the laws governing drug control in order to successfully get people to avoid drug offences. One may know what is in store for him if he traffics in cocaine today, or is caught smoking marijuana. Let us start with the UN on drug control.
UNITED NATIONS’ INVOLVEMENT IN DRUG CONTROL
The 1946 Protocol:
In 1946, UN took over drug control functions and responsibilities from the League of Nations. The functions of the leagues advisory committee on drugs were transferred to UN Commission or Narcotic Drugs also established in 1946 as a functional commission of the Social and Economic Council of the UN. This transfer was effected by a protocol, which entered into force on October 10, 1947.
Shortly after the Second World War, synthetic drugs appeared and these had dependence–producing effects. However, only coca bush, opium poppy and cannabis were covered by earlier laws (1931 convention) this necessitated the 1948 protocol, which came into effect December 1, 1949.
1953 Opium Protocol:
Also called (protocol for limiting and regulating the cultivation of the poppy plant, the production of the international and wholesale trade in and use of opium. Signed at New York) entered into force March 8, 1963. The protocol eliminated over-production through control of the amount of opium that could be stocked by individual countries. The protocol empowered International Narcotics Controls Board (INCB) with specific supervisory and enforcement responsibilities, which are to be used with the consent of the government concerned in the control efforts.
Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961:
This convention had three objectives viz; the need to codify all
existing multi lateral treaty laws in this field; the need to simplify and streamline the control machinery and the extension of the existing control systems to include the cultivation of plants that were grown as raw materials of natural narcotic drugs.
Some provisions of the single convention also contained new obligations dealing with the medical treatment and rehabilitation of addicts. It also retains former conventions, which laws were working effectively.
1972 Protocol Amending the Single Convention
This protocol further strengthened the single convention. It was entered into force August 8, 1975. It underscores the necessity for increasing efforts to prevent illicit production of, traffic in and use of narcotics, the need to provide treatment and rehabilitation service to abusers, stressing that treatment, education, after-care rehabilitation and social reintegration should be considered as alternatives to or in addition to imprisonment for abusers who had committed a drug offence.
The protocol also empowers INCB to ensure a balance between supply and demand of Narcotic Drugs for Medical and Scientific purposes in order to prevent illicit drug cultivation, production, manufacture, traffic and use.
Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971:
Up to 1971, only narcotic drugs were subjected to international
control, the convention was adopted by a plenipotentiary conference held in Vienna between January and February, 1971.
It entered into force August 16, 1976, to place all synthetic drugs under the control of international law. These include
Amphetamine-type drugs, sedative-hypnotics, and hallucinogens. The World Health Organization was designated to determine on a medical basis, whether a new substance should be included in the schedules of the convention.
1981 International Drug Abuse Strategy:
Sharp increases in drug abuse and illicit traffic by the end of the 1970s were recorded. This necessitated Commission on Narcotic
Drugs (CND) to embark on a study which resulted in the formulation of the ( IDACS) International Drug Abuse Control Strategy containing a basic 5 year (1982-1986) programme of action dealing with every aspect of drug control, abuse, trafficking, treatment, rehab and crop substitution. A task force was set up to monitor and coordinate the implementation of the strategy and Programme of Action (POA) and to report to CND on an annual basis. Reports of the task force were delivered through the Economic and Social Council to the General Assembly of the UN. Each year the reports showed a rapid increase in the level of sophistication to the massive global network of illegal drug traffickers. The report made an estimate of addicts, spread of the drugs, and recorded the amount of assistance being offered by the UN in its attempt to limit Production.
1984 Declaration on the Control of Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse:
The General Assembly on December 14, 1984 adopted a declaration on the Control of Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse. The Assembly declared that “ Illegal production of, illicit demand for, abuse of, and illicit trafficking in drugs impede economic and social progress, constitute a grave threat to the security and development of many countries and peoples and should be combated by all moral, legal and institutional means at the national, regional or international levels. Its eradication is the collective responsibility of all states”.
1987 International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Traffic:
After the expiration of the 5-year programme of action in 1986 and recognizing the heightened international dimension of the problem connected with illegal drugs. An international conference was called for the expression of political will of nations to combat this menace on a global basis. It is a ministerial level conference that was well attended (138 countries) in Vienna Austria from 17 to 26 June 1987.
The conference adopted recommendations for a broad range of measures to address the entire drug abuse phenomenon under the ‘Comprehensive Multi-disciplinary Outline’ of future activities relevant to the problem of drug abuse and drug trafficking otherwise called CMO.
1988 Convention against Illicit Trafficking In Narcotic Drugs And Psychotropic Substances.
A conference of plenipotentiaries was convened in 1988, which led to the adoption of the convention by 106 states. This convention, signed December 20, 1988 was designed to hit drug traffickers where it hurt most by depriving them of illegal financial gains and freedom of movement. One of the innovative provisions of the 34-article convention concerns the tracing, freezing and confiscation of proceeds derived from drug trafficking. The convention also provides for the criminalization of drug trafficking offences, extradition of major drug traffickers, mutual legal assistance between states on drug related investigations and the transfer of proceeding for criminal prosecution. Another significant landmark is the commitment of parties to eliminate or reduce illicit demand for narcotics drugs and psychotropic substances. Over 150 countries are now parties to the convention. Nigeria signed on March 1st 1988 and became a party November 1st 1989.
1990 Global Program of Action.
The General Assembly adopted a Global Program of Action at its seventeenth special session in March1990 to achieve the goal of an international society free of illicit drugs and drug abuse. The assembly was convened to consider as a matter of urgency, the question of international cooperation against illicit production, supply, demand, trafficking and distribution of narcotic drugs with a view to expanding the scope and increasing the effectiveness of such cooperation.
Between 1990-1999- The UN continued to keep itself involved in the drug cause. Through the General Assembly, Economic and Social Council and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. For example in 1990, apart from the GPA earlier discussed , the implementation of the 1988 convention was vigorously pursued. Between 1991 and 1999 – International action to combat drug abuse and illicit trafficking was a recurring decimal at all sitting of the General Assembly and especially between 1998-1999 Discussion of the Assembly focused on International Cooperation against the World Drug problem and the Political declaration.
1998 Political Declaration
The UN General Assembly in a 20 Point declaration resulting from its 20th session in 1998 came up with affirmative action on its concern about the serious world drug problem and the need to consider enhanced action to tackle it in a spirit of trust and cooperation. The declaration among others reaffirmed its determination of using local and international strategies to curb the drug menace, recognize the need for an integrated and balanced approach and calls for support for the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. It also believes and recognizes progress made by States and the efforts of individuals and NGOs working in various fields against drug abuse as well as confirm the link between drugs and terror groups around the World . Others include a call on organizations like the World Bank and Regional Development Banks to include action against the World drug problem in their programmes and call to communities to promote a society free of drugs especially through civil society organizations, NGO’s Sports, Media etc.
United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (2000).
This convention was signed by 125 countries in Italy, the first legally binding multi-lateral treaty specifically targeting trans national organized crime through a common toolkit of International cooperation and Criminal law techniques. It requires states parties to have laws criminalizing the most prevalent types of criminal conduct associated with organized crime groups, including money laundering. The article on money laundering requires countries to constitute a comprehensive domestic regulatory and supervisory regime for banks and financial institutions to deter and detect money laundering.
United Nations Global Programme against Money Laundering (GPML-UNODCCP)
GPML is a programme of UN Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention, which has a unique function as the only global international organization providing comprehensive anti-money laundering training and technical assistance. Its programme extends to legislators, law enforcement officials, prosecutors and judges, regulators, bankers and providers of other financial services.
Other efforts include:
Financial Action Task Force
Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering was established at the G7 Economic Summit in Paris, in 1989 as an Inter- Government body whose purpose is the development and promotion of policies to combat Money Laundering. In 1990, the FATF issued 40 recommendations to fight the phenomenon. These were revised in 1996 to reflect changes in Money Laundering Trends. These recommendations are designed to prevent proceeds of crimes from being utilized in future criminal activities and from affecting legitimate economic activities.
Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering (GIABA)
GIABA is an FATF- style regional body, established by a December, 1999 decision of the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS. It held its first meeting in November 2000. All countries of ECOWAS including Nigeria are members. GIABA endorsed the FATF forty recommendations, recognize FATF as an observer and provide for self-assessment and mutual evaluation procedures to be carried out by the body. ECOWAS Ministers have agreed to give GIABA full autonomy . The body is still in its infancy.
LOCAL LEGISLATION ON DRUG ABUSE AND TRAFFICKING.
Various laws have been enacted on drug abuse and trafficking. All of these laws are aimed at controlling the Hydra-headed monster. Drug abuse is drastically undermining the human resource potential of Nigeria while trafficking undermines the International respect accorded Nigeria all over the World. The setting up of the NDLEA is the crowning glory of all legislation in this respect and an affirmation that Nigeria has practically approved all International convention on drugs. The NDLEA Act is hereunder simplified for the proverbial ‘lay men’. Other decrees then follow.
National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act No 48 Of 1989 (Cap 258)
The Act established the NDLEA to enforce laws against cultivation, processing, sale, trafficking and use of hard drugs and empowers the agency to investigate persons suspected to have dealings in drugs and other related matters.
The functions of the Agency include the adoption of measures to eradicate illicit cultivation of narcotics plants and eliminate illicit demand for narcotic drugs. The Agency is also empowered to identify, trace, freeze, confiscate or seize proceeds derived from drug- related offences. The agency is also expected to enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement to suppress illicit traffic on narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. The Agency can enter into international cooperation with a view to suppressing the international activities of illicit drug trafficking and reinforce all UN drug conventions. And in Nigeria, the Agency can collaborate with relevant government bodies in carrying out its functions.
- On Drug Abuse And Trafficking:
- Any person who imports, exports, manufactures, sells, buys, deals in, processes, plants or grows, transports or traffics in illegal drugs without permission shall be liable to be sentenced to life imprisonment.
- Any person who possesses or uses the mentioned drugs including cocaine, marijuana, heroin and others, will on conviction be sentenced to between 15 and 25 years in prison.
- Laundering Of Monetary Instrument:
This provision is however repealed by section 22 of Money Laundering Decree.
- Whoever conducts a financial transaction and knows fully that it involves the proceeds of some illegal activity , either to promote the illegality or to conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership or control of the proceeds of such unlawful activity, or even to avoid a lawful transaction under Nigerian law, shall be liable (if corporate body) to a fine of Two Million Naira; (either Director etc of such financial institution) to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 25 years.
- Whoever transport or attempts to transport monetary instruments to or from Nigeria to or through another country and knowing fully the illegal source of such fund, shall be liable to a fine of One Million Naira or twice the value of monetary instrument, which ever is greater or a prison term not exceeding 25 years or both
- Commercial Carriers.
Every commercial carrier has a duty to assure that its means of transport are not used to convey illegal drugs. In this respect, they must train appropriate personnel to identify suspicious consignment or goods, promote staff integrity, submit their cargo manifest in advance, and make prompt reports of any related suspicions. Any organization or person in charge that falls short of this expectation shall be liable to a fine not exceeding N100,000
Forfeiture After Conviction.
Persons convicted under the NDLEA Act, are to forfeit all property traceable to the illegal business to the Federal Government . Others to be forfeited include the drugs, equipment and instruments of conveyance including aircraft, vehicles or vessels.
NDLEA Decree 33 Of 1990 (Amendment)
The NDLEA Decree was reviewed and subsequently amended to import stricter penalties for Nigerians who indulge in drug business abroad and subsequently get arrested and jailed. These convicts, after sentence abroad, will be brought back to Nigeria, taken before a court of law, and handed down another sentence for dragging Nigeria’s name in the mud. The decree stipulates a sentence of up to five years, depending on the gravity of sentence served abroad.
National Agency For Food And Drug Administration And Control Decree (15) 1993. As Amended By Decree 19 Of 1999.
NAFDAC is another crucial body empowered by law, to regulate and control the importation, exportation, manufacture, advertisement, distribution, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled water and chemicals. It is also expected to conduct tests to ensure compliance and undertake appropriate investigations into production premises and raw materials for mentioned regulated products. NAFDAC is also expected to undertake inspection of imported food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled water and chemicals, establish quality assurance systems and compile standard specifications for their production, transportation, exportation, sale and distribution.
The Nineteen functions of the agency, lucidly explained also refer to the fact that NAFDAC may undertake measures to ensure that the use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances are limited to medical and scientific purpose only.
NAFDAC is also expected to grant authorization for the import and export of such Narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. It is also to collaborate with NDLEA in eradicating drug abuse in Nigeria.
There are various regulations guiding the production, import, export, sales and distribution of regulated products and they carry penalties for breach. These regulations are not explicitly mentioned in the decree. But on the principal Decree, reference is made to obstruction of an officer of the agency in the performance of his duties. This attracts a fine of N5,000 or imprisonment for not more than 2 years. However, in the Amendment Decree 19, (1999). This is amended to read ‘where no penalty has been specified, the person who contravenes the provisions of any regulations made under the decree shall be liable to a fine of N50,000 or one year imprisonment or both’ and in the case of a corporate body, the fine is N100,000.
Counterfeit And Fake Drugs And Unwholesome Processed Foods (Miscellaneous Provision) Act 25, 1999.
The Decree prohibits productions, import, manufacture, sale, distribution of or possession of any counterfeit, adulterated, banned or fake, substandard or expired drug or any wholesome processed food in any form whatsoever.
The penalty for breaching this provision on conviction is a fine of not more than N500, 000 or imprisonment for a term between 5 and 15 years or both. The second provision affects hawking, selling or display for sale in any place not duly licensed by the appropriate authority and the penalty for breach of the provision is a fine not exceeding N500,000 or imprisonment for not less than 2 years or both.
The Decree also provides for the establishment, constitution and functions of Federal and State Task Forces and a Nigeria Police Force Squad. In both provisions, any drugs etc seized by a task force established by the decree shall be forfeited to the Federal Government.
Alcohol And Liquor Laws
These have now been referred back to the States to administer. With the advent of Shari’ah in some States of the Federation, Differences, exist for different Alcohol and Liquor related offences. Citizens should therefore inquire about the provisions of particular States on Alcohol before attempting to even drink in public.
Money Laundering Decree 3 Of 1995
The Decree provides a tough penalty for its breach as well as set legal standards for financial transactions in Nigeria (here meaning in Nigeria, in a Nigeria registered vessel or plane). As we know, money laundering has become the tool used by drug traffickers and other criminals to legitimize their drug money, we must know the implication of such destructive action.
(1) All transactions greater than N500, 000 for individual and two million for corporate bodies should be made through a financial institution and not in cash.
(2) All sums greater than $10, 000 transferred from another country to Nigeria must be reported to the Central Bank of Nigeria.
(3) Prior to making business transaction, involving up to $100,000, the businessman must identify the customer.
(4) Casinos are also mandated to keep record of the customers, how much they spend etc.
(1) Any body who transfers resources derived directly or indirectly from illicit traffic in drugs with the aim of concealing the origin of the said funds or aiding someone in this; or
(2) Collaborates in concealing or disguising the genuine nature, origin, location, movement or ownership of resources, property or rights derivable from such illicit drug traffic shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not less than 15 years and not more than 25 years.
(3) Other offences include failure to keep record of transactions, using false identity to transact, making greater cash payments than that approved and even tipping a customer of the report one is supposed to make. The penalties range from imprisonment to between 15-25 years, down to fines of between 250,000 to One million Naira.
Tobacco Smoking Control Act (Amendment)
The House of Representatives of the National Assembly in March 2002, passed a bill on Tobacco smoking in Nigeria . The Law takes stern measures to curtail indiscriminate smoking and advertising. Much unlike the 1990 tobacco smoking control decree 20, which carried mild penalties for the offences of smoking and advertising of tobacco products.
(1) Smoking is banned in public places such as cinema houses, stadia, offices, public transportations, elevators, medical establishments, schools and nursery institutions.
(2) Advertisement of tobacco on bill boards, electronic and print media is banned forthwith.
(1) Any person found guilty of smoking in these places will be liable to a fine of Twenty thousand Naira or five years imprisonment or both.
(2) Individual vendors or advertisers will be liable to fine of Twenty thousand Naira.
(3) Advertising attracts a fine of five hundred thousand Naira .
(4) Where the offence is committed by a corporate body or firm, every director, manager , secretary or other similar officers will be liable on conviction to a fine of one hundred thousand Naira or three years imprisonment or both.
National Drug Formulary And Essential Drugs List Act (Cap 252) 43 Of 1989.
The Decree stipulates that no person shall import into, advertise, display for sale, sell, manufacture in Nigeria any drug, which is not contained in the essential drugs list, unless with the permission of a Minister who is satisfied that it is necessary to import or manufacture any drug not in the list.
The Minister may furthermore remove any drug from the list, where it has been established to his satisfaction that the drug in question is no longer safe for use.
Any person therefore who contravenes these provisions shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N100, 000 or imprisonment for not more than five years. Were the offence is committed by a corporate body, every director or person in authority in that corporate body shall be held liable.
Some of the drug classes, which affect this research include Central Nervous System Drugs, Anesthetic Drugs, Diuretics et Cetera.
Dangerous Drugs Ordinance: No 12 Of 1935
As variously amended, the ordinance was instituted by the colonial government to regulate import, export, manufacture, sale and use of opium and other dangerous drugs in Nigeria. It has led to the Dangerous Drugs Regulations of 1937. The regulation has however been abrogated by the enactment of the NDLEA Decree. The ordinance had been prescribed a blanket fine of One thousand pounds or ten years imprisonment for its contravention.
Indian Hemp Decree 19 Of 1966
As amended in 1975 and 1984, the Decree was enacted against the planting and cultivation of Indian hemp, unlawful importation, exportation, smoking, unlawful possession, possession of utensils for use in smoking Indian hemp, use of premises for sale, smoking and preparing Indian hemp for smoking . The Decree was abrogated with the enactment of the NDLEA Decree. The 1975 amendment was however condemned for reduction in penalty for offences of possession and use of Indian Hemp, because it led to increase in drug offences.
The Decree introduced the death penalty or a term of 10 years for planting of marijuana, though this was reversed by amendment Decree of 1975 to read ‘more than ten years and greater than Six Million Naira.’
Special Tribunal (Miscellaneous Offences Decree ) 20 Of 1984.
The Decree in the relevant section, stipulates that any person who deals, sells, buys, exposes or offers for sale, smokes, drinks, inhales or induces other to so deal, should suffer death by firing squad and forfeit their assets to the Federal Government. The 1986 amendment however abolished capital punishment. But illicit traffic attracted imprisonment for not more than 20 years; buying and selling, not more than the 14 years; while for usage it is between 2-10 years. Manufacture attracts life imprisonment.
The NDLEA Decree 48, of 1989 provides that any person arrested for drug related offences shall be charged before the SMOT. However with the promulgation of the Tribunal (Certain Consequential Amendments etc) Decree, 1999. The SMOT no longer has power to try any of the offences committed under NDLEA decree, the Federal High Court is now vested with that power. Some Nigerians were executed by the SMOT due to drug offences in the early ‘80s.
Amphetamine And Other Drugs (Control ) Decree Of 1968
The Decree required that Amphetamine and other related Drugs be imported under license and sold and dispensed as prescription drugs. It was repealed by the Food and Drug Act of 1974.
Food and Drugs Act, 1974
This Act widely controlled the importation, exportation, manufacture, sale and distribution of Amphetamine, Secobarbital, Methaqualone and other licit drugs, foods, cosmetics, chemicals and other related substances which may be subject to abuse. This Act was the precursor to the NAFDAC Act.
THE DRUGS AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS
Alcohol comes in the form of beer, whisky, gin, brandy, burukutu, ogogoro, and palm-wine etc cetera. Alcohol in some societies has become accepted as part of life. it is used in public gatherings, parties, ceremonies etc cetera. But most religions ban its use.
People generally take alcohol to feel ‘high’. When they take it, they feel intoxicated and therefore out of this world. At the time of intoxication, the drinkers forget worries and become carried away by dreams and false realities. Important social issues like relationships, respect, parenthood, love, fear and importance all become a mirage. That is why a drunk does not respect his parents, beats up his wife and children and commits kinds of atrocities, which when sober, he will regret and be filled with remorse for a long time.
Alcohol when taken enters very quickly into the bloodstream within minutes of consumption, and heads straight for the brain. The brain will immediately react and the physical ability of the body to function properly will be affected. The muscles do not receive appropriate commands from the brain, so both understanding and response becomes very slow. Both his vision and ability to think are impaired. The body does not respond quickly to the directive of the brain.
THE IMPLICATION OF DRINKING ALCOHOL
When a person takes alcohol, he makes his liver to work overtime in expelling the poison from the blood stream, thereby endangering its function. Drinking also stimulates latent diseases for example lung cancer as a result of smoking can be made manifest by drinking. It also weakens the will. This easily leads to temptation for corruption and for all sorts of immoral acts. Alcohol also lessens the sharpness of the mind, so it influences ones ability to make sound judgements. Alcohol leads to premature deaths of many, permanent disability and intimate violence. It also leads females into prostitution and males into occult and armed robbery. It is principal causative factor for divorce and has a wide range of medical consequences on the user.
Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome
The alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a cluster of symptoms observed in persons who stop drinking alcohol following continuous and heavy consumption. Milder forms of the syndrome include tremulousness, seizures, and hallucinations, typically occurring with 6-48 hours after the last drink. A more serious syndrome, delirium tremens (DTs), involves profound confusion, hallucinations, and severe autonomic nervous system overactivity, typically beginning between 48 and 96 hours after the last drink (Victor 1983).
An author has said:
‘Alcohol is a disease without a cure, it is the only disease contracted by an act of will, that requires license for distribution, that is bottled and sold, produces revenue for government, that promoted crime. A disease spread by mass media through adverts, bring death on highways. Alcohol is the only disease that keeps its victims out of heaven (Ahmadu, 2000).
Tobacco is smoked in raw form, in clay pipes, chewed, used as snuff, cigarettes, piped tobacco, cigar and tobacco chewing gum. (Odejide, 2000) All over Nigeria, people, both young and old can be seen smoking with reckless abandon. It has become a fashionable thing to smoke in public; it is as if people are oblivious of the dangers of smoking. As a matter of fact it is a socially acceptable habit, parents smoke in front of their children, or even send them to buy cigarettes.
Tobacco is relatively cheap and widely available. It is the easiest drug to obtain anywhere and its production and distribution receive government support. The use of tobacco generally starts early in life, thereby giving impetus for initiation into other drug use. It is known that most drug users, especially cannabis and alcohol, started by smoking cigarettes. The tobacco industry is a strong one. In Nigeria, the Industry goes to a great deal of trouble to sell their product and pass it as safe and trendy. Tobacco labels are used to sponsor events; through this they have free promotion of their products. They also promote attractiveness, sex, health, glamour and excitement associated with western lifestyles. They also present cigarettes as a rite of passage into adulthood. It is also associated with self-expression, confidence, independence, freedom and identity. They also equate smoking with masculinity for men and femininity for females. They also liken the right to smoke with liberation and equity. It is also deceptively associated with wealth.
PREDISPOSING FACTORS TO SMOKING
- Availability of cigarettes, their cheapness and uncontrolled production. Tobacco farms abound in Nigeria. In some places, they have succeeded in dislodging other cash and food crops. They are hawked all over the place.
- Advertising and promotion of cigarettes. The sponsorship, the music shows, printed garments, and both radio, bill board and print media adverts daily, dominate the senses of all listeners and readers and the young is subsequently tempted to find out whether it was true that cigarettes are ‘great’.
- Pressure from peers, sibling and parental example. It is clear that a substantial number of smokers learnt the habit from people they relate with everyday, friends have a serious impact in learning the habit. It is believed that if a group smokes, they are unlikely to relate with a friend who does not. Sometimes, in the quest for independence from parents, a youth ends up depending on his peer group and responds to their demands, while being heady to his parents. Parents who smoke expose their children to the habit and smoking peers then offer him an opportunity to experiment what he has seen at home.
THE IMPLICATIONS OF SMOKING TOBACCO
The most dangerous substance in all the products of tobacco is nicotine, which is highly addictive. There are also some 4000 chemicals in cigarettes made up of toxins and irritants. Another component of cigarettes is carbon monoxide, which disrupts the body’s ability to obtain and use oxygen.
This substance has several names: wee wee, ganja, Indian hemp, igbo, pot, weed, morocco, stone and so on. One peculiar thing about cannabis is that it is both a depressant and a stimulant. Its use has been widely reported by many researchers and it is obvious that cannabis use has attained widespread notoriety all over Nigeria. Youths are now into it, like the generation before them struck to tobacco. It is worthy to note that most of those who smoke cannabis started from tobacco.
Its use has been exacerbated by its ease of availability and cheapness. It is produced in large quantities in Nigeria. It is also the first illicit substance to be associated with maladaptive behaviour and psychiatric disorders in Nigeria and till date remains the most prevalent illicit substance used in Nigeria. It is instructive to note that children of both privileged and non-privileged parents used it.
The major predisposing factor to the use of cannabis is peer exposure, it is not advertised any were, and it is not sold publicly. So it’s users depends on a network, which includes their close friends who introduce them to it’s use. Most smokers of cannabis smoked the first few rolls free, and started buying after they have been hooked.
Smokers smoke the leaves and the resins. There is also hashish and hashish oil which are derivatives of cannabis and which are as strong or even stronger than the substance. It is very deadly and has succeeded in destroying a large chunk of Nigerian youth. Some youths believe it has ‘spirit’, which allows its user to stay safe feel like the boss of the whole world or see visions. This is the euphoric state to which it subjects its victims.
Serious hazards abound in the brain and lungs for users of pot, and these subsequently impact on a person’s learning and social behaviour. THC (Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the main active chemical in marijuana, changes the way in which sensory information is received in the brain. The systems affected by this action are the same ones responsible nay crucial for learning, memory and the integration of sensory experiences with emotions and motivations. In fact even learned behaviours gradually deteriorate.
PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUGS (STEROIDS)
Doping, as the use of steroids is called, is the use of prohibited substances or methods to achieve success in sports, without really earning that success. It is therefore an unfair means of achieving sporting excellence and literally it means cheating or sporting malpractice as sports men and women who work hard, made personal sacrifices and self denial in order to succeed, always fall behind these cheats.
This practice has over the years gained considerable prominence among sports men and women, especially those engaged in heavy sports like weightlifting, boxing, wrestling et cetera. The practices involve:
- The use of prohibited substances: – These include:
- Stimulants like amphetamines, caffeine, cocaine, ephedrine and strychnine etc. Both psychomotor stimulants and central nervous system stimulants are involved here as they are used to increase alertness, wakefulness and concentration. They delay fatigue, decrease sensitivity to pain and increase aggressiveness. All these effects combine to give an undue competitive edge to its user. However, sportsmen hardly look beyond their nose to see the side effects of these drugs, which could have actually dissuaded them. The use of the drugs lead to irregular heartbeat, which could in turn lead to cardiac arrest. It leads to rise in body heat and blood pressure, leads to dehydration, reduces blood circulation. Cardiovascular collapse leading to stroke, increased aggressiveness leads to injuries while masking of pain could lead to fatal exhaustion, these are short term. The long-term effects are mental depression, schizophrenia and psychosis. In other words madness and death.
- Narcotics like heroin and morphine. These are powerful painkillers that also produce euphoric feeling. They help athletes to surpass their normal threshold of pain so they could lead to permanent tissue damage, they could also lead to respiratory depression, and physical and psychological dependence on the drugs.
- Anabolic Androgenic Steroids – These are male sex hormones called testosterone which when used increases muscle bulk, strength, and bring more endurance. People who use these drugs look excessively masculine. Today wrestlers, boxers, sprinters, weight lifters and many others use these drugs. But their side effects which include aggression, liver damage, cardiovascular diseases, decrease in size of testicles and fertility, low sperm count, acne, breast enlargement, kidney damage are never given attention until they occur. Social effects include intimate violence, seething rage and violence. For sportswomen, these drugs lead to facial hair like moustache and beard, baldness, voice deepening and suppression of ovarian functions, – no more childbirth!
- Others – These include Beta blockers, used to calm nerves of athletes like in archery, golf, shooting etcetera. Diuretics which help to eliminate fluids from the body, these are used in sports like boxing, judo, wrestling and horse racing in order to immediately reduce weight so as to compete in a specific category of a sport. These are also used to reduce concentration of drugs by diluting urine. The end result of these actions is either renal or cardiac failure; Peptide Hormones, Mimetic and Analogues. These are a new method of using anabolic steroids, so they have the same positive and negative effects. Restricted substances – substances like alcohol and traditional herbs are permitted up to a point beyond which they become illegal in sports.
Generally, the gains of doping are fleeting, while both the short and long-term negative effects are enormous. We have seen athletes that won Olympic gold and loss it, we have also known of athletes who fell and died on the field of play. Thousands more are recuperating in rehabilitation centers and hospitals. Among teenagers, steroids use can lead to untimely halting of growth due to premature skeletal maturation and accelerated puberty changes. All steroid users risk liver tumors, severe acne and trembling.
The term “inhalants” refer to more than a thousand different household and commercial products that can be intentionally abused by sniffing of huffing for an intoxicating effect. These products are comprised of volatile solvents, gases and nitrites and are commonly found in adhesive, cleaning solutions, and paint products. Their easy accessibility, low cost and ease of concealment makes inhalants one of the first substances abused by growing children.
The most commonly abused substances in the category include; adhesives like rubber solution used in the repairs of leaking vehicle tubes, solvents like nail polish remover, correction fluids, paint thinner, aerosols like spray paint, hair spray, air freshener, insecticides, shoe polish, etc cetera. In Nigeria, the abuse is not only restricted to young children. Artisans car mechanics, welders, petrol attendants also use them.
They produce psychoactive vapors. They are fat – soluble substances that easily pass through the blood-brain barrier to produce a change in the state of consciousness similar to a mild stage of Anesthesia.
HEALTH HAZARDS OF INHALANTS
Nearly all abused inhalants produce effects similar to anesthetics, which act to slow down body functions. When taken repeatedly, the intoxicating effects of inhalants can last for hours and eventually lead to loss of consciousness.
Highly concentrated inhalants when sniffed can directly induce heart failure and death. This can result also from suffocation by displaying oxygen in the lungs and then in the central nervous system so that breathing ceases. Other effects include hearing loss, limb spasms, brain or central nervous system damage, bone marrow damage, liver and kidney damage and blood oxygen depletion.
Heroin is a narcotic drug but instead of being a stimulant, it is for reduction of the perception of pain. It is in the same class with cocaine in international trafficking, abuse and dependence. Other drugs in the same class with heroin include opium, morphine, codeine, hesperidins and methadone. Most of these drugs can be used to ease pain, suppress cough and treat diarrhea, even though heroin itself has no medical use.
Some of these effects include shallow breathing; reduced anger, thirst, high sex drive and drowsiness. It is also associated with lethargy, heaviness of limbs, apathy, loss of ability to concentrate loss of judgement and self-control.
HEALTH HAZARDS OF HEROIN
Heroin use is associated with serious health conditions including fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, collapsed veins, and infectious disease including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. Others include abscesses, cellulitis, pulmonary complications including pneumonia, infertility in females especially menstrual abnormalities. Births to children with deformities are common.
Street heroin may also have additives that do not readily dissolve and this result in clogging the blood vessels that leads to the lungs, liver, kidney or brain. This can cause infection or even death of small patches of cells in vital organs.
They are also associated with hazards like tolerance, physical and psychological dependence, withdrawal is often very painful, while overdose can lead to coma, convulsion, respiratory arrest and death.
Paraphernalia for administering heroin include hypodermic needles, small cotton, balls, razor blades, straws, rolled currency bills and pipes. Synthetic opiates such as methadone’s exist.
Others are pethidine and hydromorphone. But methadone is useful for the treatment of heroin dependence.
Depressants (also called sedatives & hypnotics) are psychotropic substances that slow down the nervous system. These are many drugs in this category. Benzodiazepines (valium. Ativan etc), barbiturates, tranquilizers and methoqualone.
These are also called goof balls, barbs, blues, soapers, quads, ludes and they were used to treat epilepsy, insomnia and to relieve anxiety and relax patients before and during surgery. Generally people use them to sleep or to become intoxicated, especially when they are frustrated or sad. People with marital problems are known to use this drug to temporarily drown their problems. Unemployment is another predisposing factor to the use of depressants.
Some of the effects of these depressants include slowed heart rate and breathing, lowered blood pressure, slowed reactions, confusion, weakened emotion control, distortion of reality, reduced awareness, intoxication, drowsiness, loss of coordination, changes in personality, dizziness and hang-over.
The hazards of depressants include tolerance, physical and psychological dependence, can cause road accidents due to slowed down reaction, confusion, overdoses can cause coma, respiratory arrest, convulsion, even death. Accidental overdoses occur because the user is unaware of how much of the drug have been taken.
Withdrawal can also be very dangerous and may require medical attention. Combining psychotropic depressants mentioned above with alcohol, which is a psychoactive depressant, can cause worse conditions. Hypno-sedatives were also taken to drown the effects of stimulants, cannabis, cocaine and amphetamines especially by school youths.
Depressants may produce a temporary sense of well being, produce mood depression, and apathy. Intoxicating doses of depressants invariably result in impaired judgement, slurred speech and loss of motor coordination, in addition to dangers of disorientation, resulting in high incidence of road accidents, recurrent users incur risks of long term involvement.
These drugs can cause serious changes in perception and consciousness. They include MDMA, Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) and Phencyclidine (PCP) others include mescaline, MAD, DMT, STP and psilocybin.
(MDMA) 3, 4 – methylenedioxymethamphetamine.
They are synthetic, psychoactive substance- possessing stimulants with mild hallucinogenic properties. They can produce stimulant effects like enhanced sense of pleasure, self-confidence and increased energy. Its hallucinogenic properties include feelings of peacefulness, acceptance and empathy.
Users claim they experience closeness with others and a desire to touch. Consequently MDMA users embraced the misconception that it is relatively safe. However, various researches have shown that this drug can cause serious health problems and in some cases, death. Used in combination with alcohol, MDMA and others of the so-called “club drugs” become even more dangerous, the long term psychological effects of MDMA can include confusion, depression, sleep problems, anxiety and paranoia.
Other effects of the drug include increased heart rate, blood pressure, increase in blood sugar, and irregular breathing, loss of ability to separate fact from fantasy, distortion of sense, hallucinations, paranoia, panic, violence, loss of coordination, depression.
Hazards associated with club drugs are that tolerance develops quickly, increase risk of birth defects in users children, death may result from suicide, murder or accidents, overdose can cause psychosis, convulsions, coma, death.
Amphetamines, Methamphetamines and Detroxamphetamines, are also called speed, bennies, pep pills, ICD, Crystal meth, crank, Ice etc.
Amphetamines are used medically to control weight, treat hyperactivity and it was used to treat narcolepsy and so on. But manual labourers, farmers, masons, etc cetera generally use it, it is generally used also by community based organizations during their self-help activities that are physical-work oriented.
Hawkers also use the drug in order to sustain the energy to sell their wares. People use the drug so they could work beyond their normal productivity thresholds, in other to earn more. Drivers and conductors have been known to use ICD.
The drug has effects on the body like increased heart rate and blood pressure, loss of appetite, and increased activity. It also includes a feeling of alertness, self-confidence, sometimes followed by depression, hallucination, paranoia and temporary mental derangement (as a result of overdose).
The has many hazards – the user may push beyond his or her physical limits and suffer exhaustion. Tolerance, physical and psychological dependence can develop. Continued high doses can cause heart problems, infections, malnutrition and also death.
Amphetamines act mainly by releasing serotonin from the presynaptic terminals and inhibiting its uptake. This action produces an increased sense of well being, improves physical and verbal performance, decreases fatigue, induces loss of appetite and elevates the pain threshold. Students, farmers, masons and long distance drivers and also artisans commonly use it. Rural dwellers use it as well as urban dwellers.
Cocaine is a narcotic stimulant also known as coke, snow or flake. It has become a very serious problem in the world today, people who use cocaine spend a substantial amount to do so, while the production and distribution of cocaine has attained billions of dollars with cartels and syndicates engaging in terrorism to have the drug reach the users. Despite the effort of most world governments to curb its distribution and use, some still pass unnoticed to the consumers.
Cocaine is formerly used as an anaesthetic, but today it is rarely used for medical purposes. It is whitish, like fine granules of sugar.
Cocaine’s activity in the body includes quickened pulse and circulation and restlessness. It includes a feeling of confusion, anxiety and depression. It also triggers paranoia, serious exhaustion, and hallucination as a result of heavy doses.
Users say cocaine is a great stimulant at infancy of usage, makes one feel on top of the world and capable of solving the problems of the world. It is also claimed to free the individual from problems and it includes great success. But the same users at the end agree that cocaine takes away freedom as one could end up in jail for its use, it also takes control of ones behaviour when the stimulation stage is over. So that violence, insensitivity and unreasonableness take over.
Cocaine is said to take the heart our of a user body. At the end, that is when dependence sets in, cocaine is no longer a stimulant but a problem. Frustration sets in, glamour ebbs out and sometimes users have been known to commit suicide.
Some of the hazards of the drug are that the chronic use of cocaine can destroy nasal tissues, smoking it can cause lesions in the lungs; tolerance, physical and psychological dependence can develop; and the long – term effects of its use are unpredictable, convulsions, respiratory paralysis, cardiac seizures and death are always possible.
‘Crack’ or ‘rock’ is highly potent cocaine that has already been processed for smoking. It is just as dangerous as other forms of cocaine and it is as well also extremely addictive.
Another category of psychoactive agents is the caffeine group. These are mild stimulants which majority of people use daily without even recognizing their dangers. Principal in this group includes Kola nut, Coffee, tea, and bitter kola. Each of these natural products contains caffeine in substantial quantities and abuse of these can be very dangerous. Students use them to stave off sleep, so they could read at night, while elders use kola nut for cultural activities all over Nigeria. Eating kola nut for leisure is a strong norm especially in Hausa land. It is therefore common to see young girls selling it. Coffee and tea are also used especially as coffee black and drunk to stay wakeful and stimulated.
Some of their effects include increased alertness, nervousness, palpitation and sleeplessness. These lead to a lot of problems which include agitation, (craving desire), habitation (increase in dosage), peptic ulcer, dependence and withdrawal symptoms.
There are countless other natural agents that are psychoactive in nature, which people take in order to feel “high”. In some like zakami, zamarke, and ci-da- zugu, the seeds are swallowed, ground and taken to produce the desired effect. Others like paw – paw leaves and zamalo are smoked. All these produce effects that can sometimes be compared with that of marijuana. In the olden days we can also remember ruwan tinya, and perfumes like lawanta and habanita.
ABUSE, DEPENDENCE; THE PERTINENT QUESTIONS
Substance abuse sometimes leads to dependence and with that come a variety of consequences, especially but not only the individual. Whether soft or hard drugs, the implications are enormous. Let us take a look at problem.
What Are the Criteria for Substance Abuse?
An individual can be said to be abusing drugs if he/she uses soft drugs (legal) without Doctor’s prescription, drugs like Valium, piriton, multivitamins, and antibiotics. He /she is abusing drugs if he/she is taking hard drugs (illegal) like cocaine, marijuana, heroin etc.
– The individual indulges in recurrent substance use in situations, which endangers his life. Like driving while drunk, operating dangerous machinery etc.
– The individual will as a result of continuous use, fail to meet his role obligations at work, at school or at home.
– The individual will continue to break the law and face legal action continuously, e.g. arrest for traffic offences, disorderly conduct etc.
– The individual continues use of the substance despite having social problems, e.g. rejection by parents and relations, fighting with spouse, maltreating children et – cetera
When all these apply on an individual, he can be said to abuse drugs. People who abuse drugs are in danger of dependence on those drugs as all the substance called drugs are psychoactive, meaning habit forming.
What Does It Mean To Be Substance Dependent?
When one becomes dependent on the use of a substance, he/she cannot do without such substance and can go to any length to acquire it. The major indications of dependence on a substance include:
- Tolerance – if the users body becomes used to the substance, it will sooner than later demand more to offer the same service. If for example one takes one tablet of valium to sleep during the day so he could read in the night, there will come a time when he must use two tablets before his body will respond, and this continues until he takes such a large dose that becomes a serious medical problem for him. It is important also to note that the drug’s effect keep diminishing with more use.
- Withdrawal Syndrome – a person who is dependent on a drug finds it extremely difficult to withdraw from the habit. Whenever he tries to quit or he is forced to quit his body will respond violently. He will get very sick, be trembling, exhibit dryness, (dehydration) and other symptoms.
- Another point is the increase in the quantity of substance one consumes. This also tells on the resources of the substance dependent individual, and if he does not have the resources, he will find it by all means.
- A substance dependent person always thinks of quitting or cutting down, hoping that “this will be my last dose, I will stop next week, or after the examination” but is always unsuccessful.
- The substance dependent person spends a lot of time looking for and obtaining the substance. He could spend a long time driving, not doing any other productive work, and even when he successfully stops taking them, he spends a long time trying to recover from its negative effects.
- It can also be observed that important social, occupational or recreational activities like birthdays, gatherings, work hours, holidays etc cetera are given up or reduced considerably, as result of substance use.
- The person continues use of the substance despite knowledge of the problem involved e.g. those who take cocaine know it induces depression, those who take alcohol know that it causes liver and heart problems, and those who smoke know that it breeds tuberculosis.
The above listed items prove that substance dependence is an abnormal sickness, which must be avoided. So what are the easiest signs to look out for when looking for substance dependent persons?
- Possession of substance related items like rolling papers, pipes, and butane torches, small decongestant torches.
- Odor of substance – Alcohol smells terribly and even tom – tom, sweets or other cover up scents cannot mask its odor. Some others smoke cigarettes after smoking marijuana to cover up its odor.
- Some people are openly identified with the drug culture, the kind of magazines they read, the slogans they use, the conversation they prefer and even their jokes are on drugs and addicts.
- Drunkenness – The impact of the substance can give them away, for instance an alcohol always has slurred speech, he has difficulty in walking straight.
- Physical deterioration – An abuser of drug is bound to have memory lapses, and poor concentration as the sensori-motor co-ordination, which is the communication between the brain and the parts of the body becomes very weak and delayed. One also has unhealthy appearance and red eyes.
- Behavior changes – An abuser of drugs manifests violence, beating up those younger than them, destroying things at the slightest provocation, some even beat up their parents. They are also very secretive, their motivation and energy are grossly reduced, they sleep very long and abnormal hours, they are very dishonest and they are prone to accidents.
- Work/School Performance – The person loses interest in what he should be doing, absents himself for no reason, is not able to carry out his assignments and exams, and does this persistently. At the end, he drops out of school or is retrenched from work.
From the beginning, how does one start taking these substances? What stage must one go through in order to be considered as drug dependent person?
Primary Stage – This is the curiosity stage, most young people who take drugs do so as a result of curiosity. When they do, the drug repulses some. Alcohol is bitter and smells bad, marijuana and tobacco induce headache, so they drop it, while others still experiment further, probably due to peer pressure. Mostly, the substance is given to the victim free. He does not have to purchase it himself.
Secondary – When the experimenter continues use, the effects of tolerance of the drug will emerge and he will purchase his own drugs and subsequently establish and maintain his own supplies. In this stage, the victim no longer feels shy to use the substance, especially tobacco and alcohol, which are accepted cultures in some parts of the country. It graduates into abuse as some smoke up to a packet a day or more, or consume a whole carton of beer at one sitting. Those who moke marijuana, do it mostly at social gathering of youths, football matches, parties, youth festivals, or in specific trades like Okada or express (commercial motorcyclists).
Tertiary – This is the level of dependence, where the victim cannot do without the drug. Labourers who use ICD or other performance enhancing drugs before they work must use it to work. Otherwise they can’t. The social consideration for the victim like job, family and even food becomes secondary. The victim needs serious help or he loses his life or becomes mad.
Why Do People Engage In Substance Abuse?
Many explanations can be proffered on why someone would engage in substance abuse. As noted earlier it never starts as an abuse, it grows into an abuse. In fact most victims starts by having sincere intentions of a one-off use the substance but end up caged.
Some of these reasons include:
- Mental alertness – some drugs are taken by students to enable them read for exams. Drugs like E and P tablets are to deter one from sleeping so that one can study TDB – till daybreak. Other drugs like Valium induce sleep so that one can use the time of wakefulness later for study. Some students take Nescafe or kola nut for the same purpose.
- Pleasure – When celebrating, people drink. This is referred to as ‘social drinking’ with the availability of free drinks, some people over-drink, and subsequently get hooked on alcohol, marijuana and cigarettes. The same goes for kola nut. In the present day, cocaine and heroin are consumed at high profile parties. Some victims get initiated here.
- Pain Relief – Manual laborers, who work long hours, resort to the use of analgesics, stronger ones subsequently. Primarily in order to relieve pain and aches related to their jobs. This starts from the likes of panadol to panadol extra and it gradually translates into bigger drugs like ICD, which not only masks the pains but permits longer work hours, which ultimately means bigger pay packet, but gradually becomes a real big problem.
- Pressure – This can be either social, emotional or from one’s peers. In today’s life, stress has proven to be a major problem. People take drugs in order to reduce its impacts. Other problems like anxiety and frustration, also lead to drug abuse, for females there is anxiety about marriage, divorce, child bearing etc, frustration can come as a result of unemployment, ejection from accommodation, loss of spouse, parents et cetera. Pressure can also come from peers who refuse to identify with a friend who does not engage in substance abuse.
- Sports – Sports men and women use different methods to enhance their performance in sports. Steroids are the drugs used to do this. Some drugs mask pain, others enhance strength, others permit longer hours of activity. At the end, all the methods lead to dependence and failure.
- Ignorance – it has been recorded that ignorance leads to drug abuse, some people believe it is safe, especially the therapeutic drugs like panadol Taking these without Doctors prescription can be dangerous.
- Unbelief – Some just refuse to believe that a drug is dangerous. Some youths decide to take marijuana and refuse to stop even in the face of advice. They believe, people do not want them to enjoy their life, until they become mad or end up as thieves, armed robbers or thugs.
- Stubbornness – Some people are downright stubborn and will continue to use it even though they know and believe it is dangerous.
Other Factors that Lead To Drug Abuse
- The desire to succeed and achieve at all costs makes one to copy wrong traits.
- Social pathologies like unemployment and deprivation.
- The get rich quick syndrome.
- Mass media adverts on drugs
- Parents/siblings drug use habit.
- Open marketing of drugs.
How Are Drugs Taken?
– Some drugs are ingested orally like those that are tablets, liquid or gaseous. This includes alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana;
– Some are injected into the blood stream through intravenous injections-this accounts for the 2nd major transmission route of HIV infection after sex.
– Snorting and mucosal exposure-snuff, cocaine, heroin
– Inhaling-sprays (aerosol) solution, blue, petrol etc.
Major Terminal Point of Substances in the Body
All substances have negative impact on very important organs of the body.
- The Stomach – The stomach lining is destroyed by alcohol. That is why most drinkers end up getting ulcer. All other drugs that are ingested orally like tablets also impact on the stomach.
- The nose – the lining of the nose is damaged by drugs that are sniffed like tobacco, cocaine and heroin.
- Eyes – Alcohol and most other drugs also effect the colour of the eye and ultimately impair eyesight. This also leads sometimes to blindness.
- Kidney – the kidney is poisoned by alcohol abuse. This leads to kidney failure, the kidney no longer performs its statutory function and the victim dies.
- Heart – weakness of the heart, heart attacks, high blood pressure, breathing problems, injected drugs enter the blood stream directly.
- Lungs – lung damage, lung cancer, bronchitis, tuberculosis, pneumonia. These are caused by smoking of hemp, cigarettes, heroin etc.
- Brain – Drugs ultimately damage brain cells, the abuser exhibit trembling body, short memory and slow mental coordination, drugs lead to mental problems like psychosis, schizophrenia etc, in short madness.
- Liver – The liver, which is a store and detoxifier, finds it difficult to continuously digest alcohol and other drugs ultimately it develop symptoms like cirrhosis, hepatitis and liver cancer.
- Death – The body organ collapse at any time and that means sudden death from any of the mentioned drugs. It should be remembered that drug abuse could also cause death by taking more than the necessary dosage of the drugs.
Dangers of Self Medication
Self – medication is widespread today. Many people prefer to treat themselves for diseases that recur very frequently, like malaria, diarrhea, stomach ache, and body pain. The ‘quine’ family is available any time for malaria as tetracycline, flagyl and buscopan are available for stomach related ailments. Others do not treat themselves for diseases, but use the therapeutic drug for other purposes like physical strength for work, or for increased ‘macho’
The impact of all these translate into drug abuse. These therapeutic drugs are meant to be prescribed by medical personnel. They are not meant for personal use. This abuse or misuse as other would prefer to call it is fraught with many dangers. The drugs purchased may be fake, or expired, they can be inappropriately applied, there is a strong possibility of reaction on the user or even danger of overdose. There is also the issue of unqualified drug hawkers who may not even know a drug has expired. Infact there could be a multitude of short and long term effects. It has become common today for hospitals to make culture and sensitivity tests for a disease with more than ten drugs in vain. This is because the body has grown resistant to the drugs and so a patient may die of any human infection.
The prevalence of this misuse extends to all sectors of society.
– Prostitutes wrongly use ampicillin, ampiclox, and gentamycin as security against sexually transmitted infections.
– Farmers and labourers use drugs like ICD, indocid, buta, seven powers, panadol extra etc.
– Most other people use multivitamins, which they believe can be taken without any danger. Others even mix drugs and take them together, drugs like indomethacin, paracetamol and buta, for pain relief and hallucination.
The Consequences of Substance Abuse
Substance abuse leads to a variety of consequences both to the individual and to the society. More often than not, people realize the dangers and drop the habit but others continue and end up dependent on such substances. Whether the drugs are ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ the consequences of their misuse are grave and wide-ranging.
- Economic Loss – The society as a whole incurs huge financial loss as a result of substance abuse and its consequences of crime, mental derailment et cetera. Taxpayer’ money is used to finance special law enforcement. In Nigeria, NDLEA and NAFDAC had to be set up and gulp millions of Naira every year. Even trials and incarceration gulps a lot by the justice Ministry, the police and prison services. Treatment, rehabilitation and other medical emergencies are another drainpipe. Thousand of drug dependent people are treated and cared for at the society’s expense. The countering of the associated negative social repercussions of the abuse or the effort to stem the flow of illegal drugs is enormous. All the finances involved could have gone to building a road, another school, hospital or give employment for people in the society.
- Drug – Related Mortality – Every year, thousand of lives are lost to substance abuse. Alcohol has been known to account for a substantial number of deaths through vehicle accidents. Infact, some reports have it that nearly half of all traffic fatalities are alcohol related. It is pertinent to mention also that substance overdose accounts for a substantial number of deaths every year. Others die through sexually transmitted diseases especially those abusers that share needles. They end up with HIV, which they spread to their colleagues. Other abusers die of diseases, like tuberculosis, hepatitis and endocardiasis, suicide is another aspect of drug-abuse mortality, and many drug dependent people commit suicide at the slightest emotional depression. Even murder had been exacerbated by drug abuse. Armed robbers mostly abuse drugs before their operations in which they kill innocent people. Others kill even their beloved wives, children, parents or friend because of the impact of drugs they abuse. It has been reported how children get hold of automatic guns and open fire in classrooms killing their classmates and teachers or someone killing his whole household before killing himself.
- Sexually risky practices – individuals who abuse drugs have the potential to indulge in sexually risky behavior especially alcohol abusers engage in unprotected sex and they are more likely to select high risk STD sex partners. Infact they are more likely to have sex with multiple partners. So the risk of getting an STD infection is very high, even higher is the danger of HIV infection, which can be spread faster by drug abusers. The cost of HIV/AIDS epidemic today is a societal burden that could have been transferred to a more productive use. Unwanted pregnancy could result from drug abuse, fetal alcohol syndrome in which babies are born deformed, miscarriages, restricted fetal growth, the threat of abortion and maternal and child mortality all have a strong impact on the society.
- Medical Complications – The health of a drug user is almost certainly at risk. The possibility of a substance abuser falling ill is very high. Various substances that are inhaled, ingested, huffed, injected or smoked have dangerous consequences on various organs of the body. The heart, liver, lungs, kidney, pancreas and others. A full discussion on this can be found at ‘Their terminal points’, earlier in this chapter.
- Psychiatric and Neurological Impairments – A lot of people who abuse drugs end up as ‘mad’ or ‘ crazy’ people who parade the streets naked. A person known to have been intelligent who could have turned out very successful professional ends up sleeping on trash and living on dead animals and other unthinkable inedibles, his only companions being jeering children. Substance abuse-related automobile accidents can also lead to paralysis.
- Delinquency and Criminal Behavior – People who abuse drugs do not have regard for law, order and constituted authority. They also do not have regard for the rights of others. When taking drugs crosses the threshold of common sense, every abuser can exhibit criminal tendencies. The surge of armed banditry in Nigerian can be easily ascribed to the abundant supply of drugs and other substances. People are no longer safe even to walk the major streets, because they could be mugged. People sleep in cages to be safe from armed robbers, on the roads, when traveling, at home, when walking the pavements or even staying in one’s shop in the market, one is no longer safe. The real culprit is the drug that permits these criminals to operate without sensitivity or fear.
- Impulsivity, Alienation and Psychological Distress – Any abuser subjects himself to being impulsive in his relations with others, he prefers to be secluded from the public and has to suffer from depression. This in itself could lead to dementia, which could in turn lead to suicide.
- Developmental Problems – the use of these substances could deter one from completing the tasks of adolescence and transiting into adulthood, a drug abuser cannot effectively date a partner, may never marry, because no one wants a substance dependent spouse. So one cannot consider fathering children in marriage and raising them. Substance dependent persons cannot establish a career and cannot build rewarding personnel relationships. Both his intellectual and emotional growth would have been hindered.
FACTS AND FIGURES
(1) A Total of 2781 arrests were made at the Nations ports of entry for Drug peddling offences. Over 318,000 kilograms of drugs were seized in the year 2001 alone, while 955 Traffickers were convicted in the year 2001 (NDLEA)
(2) In 1989, there were 50,000 Drug Addicts In Nigeria. These are untreated and un-rehabilitated. The estimated figure for 2000 was 500,000. There is still no program for their treatment or their rehabilitation.
(3) Cigarette brands were introduced in 1913, while links between smoking and cancer emerged in 1954. Alcoholism was declared a disease the same year. Links between smoking and various health problem were confirmed in the US.
(4) Alcohol abuse caused 46% of illnesses, 21% of premature deaths, 12% of medical expenses of government, 11% of other cost due to fire, motor accidents, social welfare etc., 9% of crime administrative cost and 1% cost of special conditions which include HIV AIDS. Smoking of Tobacco gulps 58% of Medical expenditure, 36% of premature deaths and 6% of illnesses. Drug abuse also gulps 7% of medical expenses, 16% of illnesses, 15% of deaths, 4% of special conditions and 58% of the direct cost of crime administration.(NDLEA)
(5) In Nigeria, there are 21 doctors to 100,000 citizens. Therefore 49% of the population does not have access to health care facilities. This reflects in infant mortality. 114 in every 1000 live births, an under 5 mortality rate of 191 per 1000 of live births, maternal mortality rate is 1% of live births. Adult literacy rate is 57.1% among 15-24 age group, average illiteracy rate is 28.8%, 37.5% female and 18 .6% male. (UNDCP)
Alcohol And Road Accidents: (FRSC)
- Deaths as a result of drunken drivers average 100 per week
- 8mg/100ml alcohol in the blood (approximately 2 bottles of beer) the risk of road accident is 10 times what it would be if there is no alcohol.
- 12m/100ml of alcohol in the blood (3 bob) the risk of a road accident is 5 times what it would be otherwise.
- In Norway, auto injury was 5 times higher in drivers who took diazepam alone or combined with alcohol than in alcohol- free drivers.
- Marijuana has a strong carbon monoxide content, which is 3 times that of tobacco.
- Deaths from road accidents in 1995 were 6771 and in 1996/7 it was 12,000.
- Traffic fatalities per 1000 vehicles in Nigeria is about 3 times greater than in other African countries, and 60 times higher than European and American Countries.
- 43, 668 people had road accident injuries in 96/97.
- 1 out of 6 Drivers on the express is drunk
- About 7000 of 1997 fatalities involve alcoholic drivers and alcoholic pedestrians, 40% could be diagnosed even before the accident.
- 3 out of 5 fatally injured drivers had been drinking and 60% of these had blood alcohol concentration above 0.19%.
- Most accidents occurred during weekends, highest drinking period. (parties and ceremonies ) In Britain, more than 500 deaths and 25,000 injuries a year are caused by drinking drivers or pedestrians.
- In USA, more than 51% of all fatal motor accidents are caused by drivers under the influence of
- Problem drinkers are increasing at the rate of 250,000 per year.
- In UK cost of Alcohol related accidents is 250 million pounds per year.
- Other drugs/medications which impair driving ability include Anti -histamines, Depressants, anti-depressants, Narcotic analgesics, psychoactive agents. Etc.
- Heroin and Morphine lead to highest rate of death from overdose than all other drugs. (NIDA)
- In 1975, 12,000 deaths were as a result of Drug abuse (NIDA)
- Barbiturates cause 18% of accident deaths and 6% of all suicides. (NIDA)
- 86% Marijuana smokers drink regularly (NCD)
- 55% of drug users combine sedatives with stimulants (NCD).
- Amphetamine and other drugs (Control ) Decree 1968 was repealed by Food and Drugs Act 1974, which in turn was repealed by NAFDAC Decree .
- Indian Hemp (Amdt.) Decree 34 of 1975, reduced penalties associated with the smoking and unlawful possession of Indian Hemp. This resulted in significant increase in cases of drug offences.
- Special Tribunal (Amdt) 1984-1986 abolished capital punishment but provides for illicit export –20 years or less buying , selling , exposing for sale etc 14 Years – or less and between 2-10 Yrs for drug
- High rates of cannabis use were recorded among drug detainees 48% and for prison inmates 29% – UNDCP
- For street children it is 20%, Secondary School Students, 7.4%, student in Tertiary institutions 6 % -UNDCP.
- For Motor park touts. Cannabis use is 38%, commercial sex workers 27% and commercial drivers 25%.
- On cannabis, Lambo (1965) found 18 cases of drug abuse (mainly cannabis , out of a total of 4000 cases treated at the Neuropsychiatric Hospital , Aro Abeokuta between (1954-1959)
- Asuni (1964) reported 13 cases of cannabis abusers out of 380 patients discharged from the psychiatric Hospital Yaba in 1962. Other observations include.
- Boroffka (1966) in Lagos, Oviasu (1976) in Benin and Odejide and Sanda (1976) in Ibadan .
- The psychosocial correlates of Alcohol, cannabis and Tobacco use in Ilorin University, (Adelekan et al 1993) are peer influence, self reported poor mental health, religiosity, parental / guardian supervision, perceived availability of substance, perceived harmfulness of drug, male gender and self reported difficulty with studies.
- Adelekan et al (1991) reported that substance consumption among University students are; – Salicylate analgesics 78%, alcohol 42%, stimulants 35%, hypnosedatives 18% and cigarette 11%.
- Abiodun et al (1992) reported the substance consumption among secondary school students are ; – Salicylate analgesics 50% , alcohol 12%, stimulants 22% antibiotics 24% and cigarette 4%
– Between 1993 and 1997, a total of 88, 174 accidents occurred on our roads. Out of this, 30, 000 were fatal. NPF
– During the same period, a total of 83, 948 people were injured from road accidents, while a total of 33, 997 people lost their lives. NPF
– Also between 1993-1997 a total of 9,788 robbery cases occurred in Nigeria source – FOS.
A total of over four Million-Kilograms of cannabis has been destroyed in the operation Burn – The – Weed programme between 1994 and 1999 by the NDLEA.
– High prevalence of the use of cannabis has been established for the following target groups: commercial sex workers, secondary school students, commercial drivers, tertiary school students, the unemployed and prison inmates.
– As for benzodiazepines, patent medicine dealers, health care professionals, law enforcement agents and teachers are said to consume it mostly – UNDCP
– Cannabis has also resulted in most hospital admissions in –Nigeria. The total is 1155 between 1994 – 99 while the highest age group for such admission is between 20 – 29, a total of 635! – UNDCP
– Rural drug consumption is an average of about 45% of urban consumption.
– Kano State has the highest Consumption rate for both cocaine and heroin, 37 and 127 respectively, out of a respondent population of 741 males, while the old Sokoto has the least with none! – UNDCP.
- Drug related murders in the US have declined yearly from 1367 in 1990 to 564 in 1999. FBI-uniform crime reports
- Drug induced deaths climbed steeply from 9463 in 1990 to 16,926 in 1998 – CDCP.
- Drug related arrests have declined since 1997 in the United States from almost 1.6 million in 1997 to a little more than 1.5 million in 1999 – FBI – UCR.
- Drug abuse violations and alcohol related arrests combined accounted for an estimated 31% of overall arrests in 1999 – UNDCP
- In order to break the link between drugs and crime, the criminal justice system must work with treatment agencies to decrease the demand for illegal drugs by providing substance abusers with the skills to become clean & sober –ONDCP
- Also in the US, the economic cost of drug abuse is on the increase yearly and in 1995 reached a peak of 110 billion dollars. NIDA and NIAAA
- In 2001, Americans spent a whopping 64 billion dollars to purchase illegal drugs.
DRUGS AND CRIME
Nigeria has been described as a major illicit drug and major money laundering country. It is also seen as a country whose financial institutions engage in currency transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds from international narcotics trafficking. This was contained in the International Narcotics Controls Board Report of 2001 – a publication of the US State of Department.
To a large extent, the chicken – egg relationship applies to drugs and crime. Some believe that the proliferation of crime is a result of the availability and use of drugs. It is also believed that drugs came as a result of crime, criminals need something to charge themselves with before their operations.
However, the focus of our discussion relates to how drugs impact on the commission of crime. For the purpose of this work, crime will be discussed from two perspectives:
- International Crime
- Local Crime
The International crime refers to the crimes committed across international borders. Since we are referring to the drug crime, we then by extension mean the trafficking of drugs as a criminal activity and money laundering.
Drug trafficking is the movement of drugs from one country to another with the purpose of distribution and subsequent sale to consumers from a drug producing country to a drug consuming country sometimes via a transit country.
The drug barons, their paramilitary forces, organizers, couriers and nocturnal sales outlets form the body of drug traffickers. As a multimillion-dollar business, drug trafficking attracts its staff very easily, what with unemployment and poverty all over the place. The couriers are the ones we hear about every so often, arrested at airports or seaports and Seizures of hard drugs made from them. Thousands of these couriers are in jail in Nigeria and almost all countries of the world.
It has been confirmed that 20% of women in British prisons are Nigerians who were arrested either as couriers or as peddlers, while in holloway prisons alone, 50% of women are Nigerians. In 1994, 50 million pounds worth of drugs were seized at Heathrow Airport in London. The same statistics exist for many countries of Europe, Asia and the Americas. The condition of these jailed Nigerians is pathetic. Once they are arrested, they refuse to make contact with their families back in Nigeria, for the shame it involves. They remain there until the expiration of their jail terms before coming home. While in jail, some of them deliver babies and some are arrested with children, which ultimately have to be taken to foster homes. Sometimes, the parents or children die. If the parents die, the children end up without family and grow up with no roots back in Nigeria. It is a sad picture indeed. Government in Nigeria has shown a lot of concern for the notoriety of its citizens in the drug trade. It has decreed that any drug trafficker jailed abroad will return home for the second leg of his prison sentence in Nigeria from a minimum of five years. Before that law came into being, which has been referred to as double jeopardy, pictures of convicts in foreign jails were produced in posters and advertised in Newspapers and Magazines to deter new entrants. All these, coupled with other stringent measures initiated by the NDLEA have gone a long way in reducing the tempo of drug peddling.
The humiliation Nigerians undergo at foreign Airports is a result of this scenario. An eighty-year-old man in subjected to a dehumanizing search; same goes for a baby of a few months. This is because, there are times when arrests are made of people who ingest drugs sometimes up to 50 sachets, or capsules of cocaine or heroin, by children, or old people, at other times dead bodies are ripped open and loaded with drugs. Holy books have been torn in order to load drugs in them. Infact some couriers have died due to the leaking of the drugs in their bodies and so – on and so forth. The truth is, we cannot blame the countries for treating us bad, and we should rather do something to stop our citizens from spoiling our good name everywhere. There are thousands of Nigerians doing legitimate business all over the world; others are University lecturers, Doctors, Engineers and the like. These people and tourists who feel wealthy enough to take their families for a treat abroad are the subject of these insults.
The drug trade has blossomed over the years and Nigerian criminal barons have established firmly in the producing countries, the transit countries and the consuming countries to manage what to them is legitimate business. The producing states are Bolivia, Columbia and Peru for cocaine. While opium, comes from what is known as ‘the golden triangle’ of Burma, Thailand and Laos, and the ‘Golden crescent’ of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Nigerians have a transit country in Nigeria to bring the drugs in, and re-direct them to other consumer countries. This is because, the consumer countries had targeted the producers, and had put stringent checks on whatever comes from them. The traffickers are reported to have resorted to even more complex routes using fake and multiple documents as well as multiple couriers.
Other ways of trafficking include the use of postal services and couriers services which are mailed as mail-parcels from one end but carry drugs which are comfortably received without hassle at the other end. NIPOST is now more conscious and greatly assisting in this regard.
The NDLEA has been trying very hard to arrest the situation, and they have succeeded to a large extent, as today their efforts have resulted in the increased use of the neighboring cities and countries, rather than Nigerian cities.
It is also noteworthy that drug barons involve themselves in narco-terrorism in order to fight law enforcement agencies or their competitors. Sometime they apply terrorism just to instill group discipline among their members. They have their Para-military fighting units, well equipped with modern weapons and drugged enough to be inhuman and insensitive. Drug trade is a monster. Sometimes they sponsor candidates for elections in some countries so that their activities can be allowed to flourish unhindered, where they succeed, narcocracies are established.
Drug trafficking cartels exist in many countries, and because of their existence, other crimes of international dimension proliferated. The principal among these is money laundering, which the drug dealers have applied in order to ‘cleanse’ the drug money, legalize and then use it. Another is prostitution; most of the prostitutes of Nigerian origin that are found in other countries were usually taken there with drug money. It is noteworthy that a lot of these prostitutes are forced to use drugs, and some even end up as street peddlers of drugs.
Among the illicit international trades associated with trafficking of drugs is smuggling which by itself is a serious crime. Another is forgery, most of the passports used by couriers and the visas on them are forged. That explains why the courier can travel with more than one passport at any given time. Another is the advance fee fraud, which has been fingered to source money to start a drug trafficking/trade. Yet another is credit card fraud. This last problem has forced European banking system to subject Nigerians to weird enquiries before opening an account for them.
The fact remains that any country that allows itself to be used for the trafficking of drugs will ultimately be disenfranchised by the international community, especially by countries that suffer most from the problem. Our erstwhile decertification by the U.S. is a result of this precedence. Certification is a potent weapon used by the U.S. to ensure that governments abide by the provisions of UN conventions. As the strongest country in the world, with veto power at the United Nations Security Council, and a huge, vulnerable population, the country through its financial assistance act empowers its president to
“Certify annually” that each major drug producing or transmit country has cooperated fully or has taken adequate steps to meet the goals of the UN drug convention of 1988, including rooting out public corruption. Any country that falls short of this act will lose military and development assistance and a ‘no’ vote on loans in six multilateral development banks”
So far, the Nigerian government has shown strong political will in this regard. An Anti-Corruption Commission was set up with wide ranging powers to checkmate corruption in public life, another effort is the support of Act 33, 1990 that was described as double jeopardy for drug traffickers. The Act provides that they spend an extra five years in jail (minimum) on their return from jail sentences abroad. In November of 2000, four fugitives were extradited to U.S. by the federal government to face narcotic-related charges. Two of these have been on the U.S. presidents list of significant foreign narcotic traffickers.
Because of the position Nigeria has found herself, in negative light, it has over the years also cooperated with various other countries in order to control the drug crime. She has signed memorandum of understanding with other countries sharing the same problem. These include; Uganda, U.S.A, Russia Iran, Britain etc. Nigeria is also involved in a joint task force with USDEA to assist each other in the area of sharing of information between them and NDLEA on drug offenders to expedite arrests. The USDEA is also helping NDLEA in developing competence in drug and drug related money laundering investigations.
The UN international drug control program (UNDCP) resident in Nigeria has done a lot and still doing more. So far, hundreds of thousands of US Dollars has been spent by the organization to assist NGO’s in executing their programs in fighting drug abuse and rehabilitating it victims. It has also helped NDLEA and NAFDAC to strengthen their capacity, and execute their mandates better.
Drug traffickers and other criminals of international disrepute; launder the proceeds of their illegal activities in order to spend them legally. Money laundering is used to disguise the origins of these illegal moneys. Drug trafficking, a very lucrative venture has embraced money laundering and perfected it through the following stages.
- Placement – This involves the placing of these funds into financial institutions through deposits and transfers.
- Layering – They also layer the transactions one over another, until the original source is missing.
- Integration – This is when illegal funds finally lose their original background and become legal.
In Nigeria, many car dealers, high tech equipment dealers, electronic dealers have been fingered for drug dealings. All these may still be benign but in other countries, these funds provide fuel for terrorists, illegal arms deals, high profile corruption and other crimes to operate and expand.
Money laundering is also carried out through currency exchange houses, stock brokerage houses, gold dealers, casinos, automobile dealership, insurance companies and trading companies. Money launderers invest where their businesses are less likely to be detected rather than where they will make profit.
As a result of the preponderance of money laundering, Heads of States and Government of G7 in July 1989 set up the Financial Action Task force to tackle financial aspects of drug trafficking. It is also to assess the results of cooperation already undertaken in order to prevent the utilization of the banking system and financial institutions for the purposes of money laundering and to consider additional preventive efforts in this field including the adaptation of legal and regulatory systems so as to enhance multilateral judicial assistance. In West Africa, as in other regions, an Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering (GIABA) was established just five months after FATF in order to actualize its statutes.
CONSEQUENCES OF DRUG TRAFFICKING
The production, trafficking, distribution, abuse and control of drugs are associated with many problems, political, social, economic and health.
- Production, trafficking and distribution of illicit drugs lead to the employment of violence to protect the trade against law enforcement agents, competitors and to discipline members. It also leads to terrorism which has now been tagged narco-terrorism which could be used to intimidate people into electing narco-cratic governments (government of drug barons for drug barons)
- Drug trade is associated with extremely large profits which is laundered into economy, this has serious negative repercussions as it distorts economic and development planning and leads to ultimate devaluation of currency and failure of monetary policies leaving the national economy in the doldrums.
- The problem causes loss of social and mental competence in the society, family disintegration, neighborhood and community disorganization, spread of diseases.
- Diversion of resources from productive and social development sector to law enforcement, security, medical and rehabilitation and justice identified with drug trafficking and abuse.
- Trafficking and distribution helps breed bribery and corruption in high places, which ultimately affects the implementation of policy.
- Nigerian citizens are constantly harassed and subjected to uncivilized searches on their persons whenever they leave their country. That comes after scaling the hurdle of visa application.
Crime was seen by some researchers in terms of its being conventional or unconventional. The latter covers what today we refer to as international crime, crimes like drug trafficking, advance fee fraud, smuggling, money laundering and so forth. While the former are mostly carried out against the laws of only one country.
Conventional crimes are broken into crimes of violence and acquisitive crimes. Both crimes are exacerbated by the use of drugs; others include crimes against public order and crime against moral mores.
Crimes of violence require some kind of drug support in order to take place. Virtually every armed robber uses drugs, these drugs give the criminals the hallucinogenic, stimulating back-up to destroy with insensitivity.
Drugs are surrounded by crime. Their cultivation is crime, their manufacture or processing is crime, their transportation is crime, their distribution is crime and their consumption is crime. At each stage, one could get jail sentences. Beyond that, there is something in drugs that make users indulge in crime. Principally, drugs affect the mood, thought and feeling of users. The mood of the user can be unnaturally happy or sad which may ultimately affect his relationship with others. It can affect his thoughts and relate to him that such a thing that he desires is attainable through use of brute force e.g. a woman he wants. His feelings can be affected in such a way that the person he loves can become an object of hatred and harm and so forth. These three areas lead the users decision and outlook to be warped and consequently he indulges in actions, which ultimately may be anti-social or even criminal.
Another perspective is that of affordability of the drugs. Most drugs are not cheap and people who use them gradually become less productive. Consequently, they come to a stage where they can no longer afford the drugs. But because of its psychoactive nature they cannot stop it, so they create other ways of getting easy money to sustain the habit. Pilfering and theft graduate into robbery or misappropriation.
Crimes against public order, like prostitution, drunk driving which leads to traffic violations or accidents, secret cult are all shrouded in the cloak of drug use. Others like hired assassins and thugs are known to use drugs. It is then important to note that a significant percentage of the criminal cases we have daily are a result of drug use and a lot of more as a consequence of the drug trade. People from all classes use drugs male or female, the rich and poor, young and old et cetera.
It is very pertinent to note that drugs fuel the activities of thugs and groups of destructive youths who go by different names; area boys in the south, ‘yan daba in the north. Their existence to a large extent is a result of a complex of dynamics of socio economic depravation and challenges faced by the youth of sprawling urban centres and large cities. The coercion, persuasive requests, the petty crimes, and sometimes violent offences by these youths to acquire resources in the generally over crowded areas of the city and even on traffic jammed expressways and streets has become an unending problem. The drugs used by these youths are mostly inhalants as they cannot afford hard drugs. They only get to use hard drugs as they progress in the trade; most of them end up later as armed robbers. Some of them have become sadists and rapists who maim their victims for minor reasons. Drugs are the main fuel for their delinquent and subsequent criminal activity. These children start taking drug at very tender ages of 7-8 years old and graduate to other serious drugs as they grow.
Other groups whose activities are closely associated with drugs are the secret cults. it is generally believed that many higher institutions of learning in Nigeria have the problem. It is believed about forty-one (41) cult groups exist in Nigerian institution of higher learning. They are shrouded in secrecy and are only manifested after arrests at initiations or after incidences of violence in which many Nigerian students have lost their lives over time.
Another aspect of crime, which is exacerbated by drugs, is intimate violence. This involves the abuse of wives, children, house helps, boy friend – girl friends etc. Intimate violence can take the form of murder, rape, sexual assault, robbery and other forms of assaults.
Many drug abusers have taken to intimate violence as a form of catharsis. People who drink alcohol, cannabis, cocaine or heroin especially have turned violent after taking the substances; it is generally believed that it affects the moods, thoughts and feelings of a person. The drugs sometimes depress the user and make him feel rejected and unloved by his spouse. At other times his children are seen as disrespecting him because of his behaviour. At extreme instances, men who abuse drugs are reported to rape their daughters and house girls and sodomize their sons. Many wives have fallen victim of acid attacks by their husbands, especially when they threaten to leave. Many others have been killed. Infact there are reports of whole families being killed by the drug victim, while he also kills himself afterwards. Suicide is a common crime associated with drug abuse.
Drug abuse has also led to breakage of marriages, and there are reports that women, who are left with the burden of child bearing, end up using drugs themselves to drown the weight of the problems associated with the responsibility. Sometimes, they meet with undesirable elements and join mainstream crime or become drug dependent. Intimate violence then is a direct consequence of drug abuse.
Our societies must ensure that the problem of drugs is rooted out completely; otherwise, we will at one time pay back by witnessing terror and insecurity amongst ourselves. The preponderance of arson, thuggery, gangsterism, armed banditry and wanton looting coupled with the prevalent ethnic and religious upheavals will to a large extent be seen as the result of drug abuse.
PUBLIC ENLIGHTENMENT EFFORTS
Various organizations saddled with responsibility on the drug cause have done a lot to convince people not to get involved with dangerous substances. Public Enlightenment is one such method, and there is no better way to enlighten than by pictures. Living pictures, each of which tells a full story. A picture, it is said, is worth a thousand words.
Attractive pictures are by far the fastest means of communication especially among youths. Youths are the same everywhere. A youth in the US relishes pictures as well as that of Nigeria. There is therefore a great need to review the sketch posters being employed by the enlightenment agencies. It is not out of place to relate the behaviour of Nigerian youths in their appreciation of music, fashion and the drug culture, it therefore follows that as much as we believe our youth are not well exposed, they have taken full advantage of the communication explosion which has made the world a global village.
The following pictures are the particular efforts of some websites maintained by the UNDCP – office of National Drug Control Program of the United States Government. The websites include: www.mediacampaign.or; www.freevibe.com; www.theantidrug.comm. Please relish the messages and take heed.
RELIGION AND DRUGS
It is instructive to note that religion abhors taking substances which can intoxicate, and which can lead to people losing their sense. The prominent religions that are followed in Nigeria are Islam and Christianity, and they both say no to drugs.
Islam and Drugs
During the lifetime of the Holy Prophet [SAW], the only intoxicants available where the alcohol-type. The modern day cocaine, heroin and the arrival of synthetic drugs are a new introduction to which Modern Jurists have to give a modern definition in Islam. Some of these drugs are appearing well over a thousand years after Hijra.
The Holy Quran strictly prohibits all intoxicants in chapter 5vs 90-91. Allah said:
“O you who believe! Truly intoxicants and gambling and divination by arrows are an abomination of Satan’s doing. Avoid it in order that you might be successful. Assuredly Satan desires to sow enmity and hatred among you with intoxicants and gambling and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from salat. Will you not then desist?”
It is clear that the verses speak on the negative impact of intoxicants as the breaking of relationship and ensuring enmity and hatred in addition to the harm they do to man’s soul by causing him to neglect his religious obligations.
Prophet Muhammad himself has made statements, which can refer directly to substances of abuse, rather than only alcohol. In the following hadith [tradition] The Prophet has taken further elucidation to the above-mentioned verses of the Holy Quran.
“Every intoxicant is Khamr and every Khamr is haram’ [prohibited] –reported by Muslim.
‘Of that, which intoxicates in a large amount, a small amount is haram.[Prohibited]” Ahmed, Abu Daoud, Tirmidhi
“If a bucket intoxicates, a sip of it is haram” Ahmed, Abu Daoud, Tirmidhi.
The rightly guide caliphs that took over after the demise of the Holy Prophet also acted in like manner. Umar bn Khattab, the 3rd caliph of Islam said from the pulpit of the Holy Prophet;
“Khamr is that which befogs the mind”. Reported by Bukhari and Muslim.
“Truly, Allah has cursed Khamr and has cursed the one who produces it, the one for whom is produced, the one who drinks it, the one who serves it, the one who carries it, the one for whom it is carried, the one who sells it, the one who earns from the sale of it, the one who buys it and the one for whom it is bought.” Tirmidhi, Ibn Maja.
“Whoever believes in Allah and last day must not sit at a table at which Khamr is consumed.” Ahmed and Tirmidhi.
Umar bn Abdulaziz, a renown 2nd generation caliph of Islam ordered the flogging of people who were at a drinking party, but were not drinking; one of them was even fasting, but was flogged. Umar’s reason?
“And he has revealed to you in the book that when you hear the revelation of Allah rejected and mocked, you are not to sit with them until they turn to some other theme, for if you do so, you will be like them…” [Quran 4:140].
Alcohol not a medicine
Some people are of the belief that intoxicants may have some medicinal value and can therefore be taken as medicine. The prophet of Islam had said in relation of this;
‘It is not a medicine but a disease’ reported by Muslim, Abu Daoud, Ahmed and Tirmidhi.
‘Allah has sent down the disease and the cure, and for every disease there is a cure, so take medicine but do not use anything haram as medicine’ – Abu Daoud
Ibu Mas’ ud said – Allah has not made a cure for you in what he has prohibited to you.
Umar bn Khattab had said ‘Khamr’ is what befogs the mind.
Therefore, Allah and his messengers prohibit any substance, which has the effect of befogging or beclouding the mind, impairing its faculties of thought, perception and discernment. This covers marijuana, cocaine, opium and other psychoactive and psychotropic substances. Earlier Muslim jurists were unanimous in prohibiting those drugs, which were found during their time. Sheikh al Islam Ibn Taymiyyah was one such example. He had said.
“The solid grass (hashish) is haram, whether or not it produces intoxication. Sinful people smoke it because they find that it produces rupture and delight, an effect similar to drunkenness. While wine makes the one who drinks it active and quarrelsome, hashish produces dullness and lethargy; furthermore, smoking it disturbs the mind and temperament, excites sexual desire and leads to shameless promiscuity and these are greater evils than those caused by drinking. The punishment for smoking hashish, a small or large amount of it, is the same as that for drinking wine, that is eighty or forty lashes’ Fatwa Ibn Taymiyyah, vol. 4p.262f.
A general rule of shariah is that it is haram for the Muslim to eat or drink anything, which may cause his death, either quickly or gradually, such as poisons, or substances, which are injurious to health or harmful to the body. As Allah [SWT] has said in 4:29.
“And do not kill yourselves, indeed, Allah is ever merciful to you”
And do not be cast into ruin by your own hands [2:195]. These are clear evidences for the prohibition of all psychoactive and psychotropic substances in Islam and the stipulated punishment in the shariah for anyone who drinks alcohol is eighty lashes.
Christianity and Drugs
Though there is no mention of specific alcoholic drink and tobacco in the Bible, God’s view on the issue are clear enough. We have wine and strong drinks as well as intoxication forbidden in the bible. The following bible passages specifically forbid priests from drinking wine and strong drink.
Leviticus 10:9, Numbers 6:3, Ezekiel 44:21, Luke 1:15. As children of God, obedience is very important in our relationship with God (Deuteronomy 8:2.) The attributes of a drunkard are given as woe, sorrow, contention, babbling, wounds without cause and redness of eyes (Proverbs 32:29-31). The same bible passage went on to say that wine in the end “biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder”. Proverbs 23:32, “wine and strong drinks are not for Kings and Princes”. Proverbs 31:4 and 5 “But it is for those that are ready to perish”. Proverbs 31:6. “Love of wine is an invitation to poverty”. Proverbs 21:17 why then should somebody in his/her right senses inflict all such horrible things on himself/herself.
Furthermore, the bible places a curse on those who follow strong drink Isa 5:11,22, Isa 28:1,3-7. That is why we are admonished not to be “drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but to be filled with the spirit”. Ephesians 5:18, intoxication can lead to all sorts of vices as we have copious examples in the bible, some of which are Noah in Gen. 9:21, the incident led to the curse Noah put on the children of Ham, Gen. 9:25. Lot in Gen. 19:32-35 committed incest with his own daughters under the influence of strong drink. Absalom was able to revenge the defilement of his sister on Ammon after making him (Ammon) drunk, 11 Samuel 13:28and 29.
Medically, it has been proved that cigarette smoking is injurious to health. Anybody who smokes does not love himself and two great commandments, which cover all the others, are to love God with all our hearts and the second is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Luke 10:27, it can therefore be inferred that God wants us to love ourselves. Anybody who loves himself would cherish his body, as our bodies are the temple of God and we are not to defile ourselves with cigarette as the bible says “if any man defiles the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” 1 Corinthians 3:16&17. God wants us to prosper and be in good health, even as our soul prospereth 3 John 2. Anything, cigarette inclusive, that hinders our good health is not the will of God for us.
It is imperative therefore, for all to ensure that young people are not exposed to any intoxicant or any drug that can ruin their lives and are not exposed to any intoxicant or any drug that can ruin their lives and stop them from fulfilling the purposes for which they were created. Parents must ensure good upbringing, teachers must ensure good training and the society, as a whole must check excesses in children and reward good behavior. The society must also as part of its responsibility check wanton advertising of all drugs, the following passages from bible are a reference point.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.
‘A child left to himself brings shame to his mother’-Proverbs 29:15.
Scholars have cited the following as some of the factors that lead children into drug abuse and other bad behaviors;
Bad lifestyle of parents, sparing the rod, lack of adequate time for children, parents disagreement, unchecked curiosity of children, unhealthy comparison with other children, showing favoritism, inadequate provision, misapplication of reward and punishment, use of force instead of dialogue.
Substance abuse in Nigeria has attained epic proportions and therefore calls for urgent measures to forestall imminent epidemic. This can be done through:
(a) Primary prevention in which all stake holders must participate,
(b) Secondary prevention in which government through its law enforcement and medical institution must reduce the impact of the problem, and
(c) Tertiary prevention in which government must help to treat and rehabilitate former dependents and put them into the community for necessary reintegration.
PRIMARY PREVENTION STRATEGY
Primary prevention strategy has a better chance of success because:
(a) It targets the underlying causes of drug use and therefore has the greatest chance of success.
(b) Over time, it will reduce the need for drug treatment which is in short supply and
(c) Media campaign has more potential to affirm the anti-drug attitude of non- starters than to change the abuser.
The primary strategy is an admixture of moves by the stakeholders severally and collectively to checkmate abuse and dependence, they are therefore generally targeted at young people.
Government has a large role to play thus:
- There is urgent need to sponsor studies on drug use and abuse in order to aid its policy formulation and be able to better direct control and prevention programs.
- There is need to expand economic opportunities and social welfare services like jobs, shelter, social security among the populace and entrench a child welfare initiative which will solve the problem of street children ab-initio.
- A preventive drug education must be embarked upon to enhance public enlightenment through a school based strategy that target peer groups, teachers and parents through PTA; the programme must also aim to curtail cult activities, National Anti-Drug Campaign which is sponsored every year, can include in its schedule, sponsoring of athletics and drug free sports. 26th June of every year has been set aside as drug free day.
- Releasing adequate subvention to regulatory bodies and licensing authorities to ensure success in compliance with government provisions on drug manufacture, distribution/ sale/ advertising use and abuse of illicit drugs. These organisations include- NMDA, PCN, NAFDAC, APCON and so on. Presently, they are operating under harsh environments and are always cash – strapped.
- Empower NDLEA with more funds and training to enforce the law on the sale/ purchase, use and abuse of illicit substances and strengthen intelligence activities to access more offenders.
- National Media Campaign to bring to the attention of the whole nation the epidemic nature of the drug problem and put clear, short but pungent massages to warn the populace on the dangers of involvement in drugs. Special television and radio programs especially drama, movies, music must be produced to draw attention. Print media like Newspapers and magazines, cartoon strips must to appropriately designed and widely produced. Bill boards and signboards must carry large portraits that warn on drug abuse. The Internet must also be used. Today a large number of enlightened youths have access to the Internet both at home or at cyber cafes, special websites can be created for Nigeria youths to communicate with government counselors and read about trends and dangers on-line. Youths must also be informed that they could go to jail for using drugs. Small media like calendars, posters, handbills and stickers must be supplied in droves to people especially commercial sex workers, manual labourers, drivers, school children, project workers and civil servants. APCON must ban adverts on illicit substances, which inundate our hearing from radio stations, billboards and also newspapers. They should then advertise dangers of all substances on such publications and boards. Presently tobacco adverts have been banned. APCON can design anti-drug campaign and advertise them as its own societal responsibility on drug abuse.
- All potentially dangerous substances must carry serious warnings on their containers as done with cigarettes. The smokers are liable to die young statement is very crucial. Alcohol bottles too must contain alcohol is dangerous to your well being so must pressurized containers of solvents, solvents can kill instantly or other warnings must be inscribed.
- Destruction of drugs: there is need to improve on the sighting and destruction of cannabis farms, which abound all over Nigeria. Thousand of hectares of farmland that grow cannabis have been located and destroyed. Surveillance aircraft must be provided to the NDLEA to be able to scan more areas. Also of importance is the large cache of drugs regularly seized at ports of entry into Nigeria made up of cocaine, heroine and others, including therapeutic but illegal pharmaceutical drugs. Government should continue with the destruction of such drugs and expedite action in doing so to avoid it getting into the wrong hands.
- Law Enforcement- Government should widen its dragnet and arrest youths who use dangerous drugs in public and use intelligence information obtained from such arrest to trace back the origin of all drugs in circulation. This should not be difficult as every user has a supply chain leading back to the importer or producer. Government must therefore be more committed by providing the needs of the enforcement agency NDLEA.
- Establishment of research institutes to ensure continuity in research efforts that will regularly feed government with information for the formulation of policy. These institutes will serve as drug clearing house in the country where all information concerning drugs can be accessed. Today only CRISA helps in this regard
Government cannot work in isolation; it does not have the resources to do so anyway. That is why the society must participate if the drug problem is to be solved once and for all.
- The role of parents- parents exert a critical influence on their children especially young ones, so parents must talk to their children about dangerous hurdles they will have to cross in their transition to adulthood: sex, drugs, crimes, etc. Children who have the confidence of their parents hardly fail. Parents must put their foot down about bad friends, bedtime, high school performance, etc. They must also make time to go out together and share intimacy. This will enable parents to know their friends, their best and weak spots and so on, and advise accordingly. Parents in themselves, are an anti-drug, through the four-way route: Truth, Communication Love And Honesty, every parent will have full control and confidence of his child or ward and therefore ward them off drugs. The danger of refusing to do this is that the peer group will take over the responsibility, it all depends whether they are good or bad friends. The rest is conclusive.
- The Risk Factors- the predisposing factors to drug abuse at early childhood include parent criminality and substance abuse, low verbal ability, social disorganization, violence in neighbourhood, poor family management practices, inconsistency or harsh parenting, low socio-economic status exposure to media violence and many others. The society that has preponderance of these factors is sure to have among others a drug problem. Internal management mechanisms must be employed by communities to solve internal problems.
- Child welfare- the issue of street children, area boys, beggars, child hawkers, child prostitutes, and child labourers are all a sign of the moral degeneration of a society. The preponderance of these issues goes a long way to describe its drug use pattern. Societies therefore must not allow change to overtake them rather they should initiate change to serve their own communal good. The above- mentioned social problems must be focused, addressed and if possible reversed by the society.
- Religion’s effort – most religions preach good parenting, good child training, no drug use, respect for elders even if they are not relations and many other positive traits. This then becomes a clear job for religious clerics who must preach against drug abuse, but they must also be fully briefed on the dangers of all substances from the perspective of modern research. Preaching sessions to parents and children at social gatherings and special session have become necessary.
- Local coalitions of CBOs, peer groups, age grades etc can help to change attitude, positive peer pressure must be the baseline for these activities, mates can check themselves and deal with strays in their own way. When this fails, the society can punish offenders before it gets out of hand, in which case it goes to the police.
- Individual youths must create for themselves a pastime that will serve as an anti-drug. Some youths write poetry or stories, others draw; yet others are very religious, others engage in sports and so forth. Every young person must set a challenge for himself, which he must pursue to occupy his spare time. And make it a habit to preach against drug abuse.
Non-Governmental organizations are organized parts of a society, as they come to being to support and complement government actions or inaction. In the area of the drug problem, NGOs have sprung up as Drug- free Associations, research groups and advocacy outlets. Their main mode of operation is advocacy, that is the creation of awareness among non-drug users, high-risk groups, or even users. They conduct seminars, workshops and symposia; they visit schools, markets parks and other places to speak about the dangers of drug abuse. They sometimes organize shows, musicals, drama, beauty contests and games, all in order to draw attention to the ravages of drug abuse.
In considering their efforts, NGOs must continue to get finances from philanthropic individuals, national and international donor agencies to sponsor these events. Most of their campaigns end up successful. NGO activities therefore should be supported more as they contribute a huge quota in the fight against drug abuse.
SECONDARY PREVENTION STRATEGY
At this stage, warnings and advice have failed or have not been given, one has fallen victim to the drug problem and is now a regular user, so a different strategy must be employed to deal with this problem.
- Early identification- whether the government or the society noticed first, the early identification of a drug user is very important. If it is by government, he should be reprimanded according to law. This will dissuade an early starter. If it is the society, he should be taken to a counselor and forced to go through counseling sessions. If the habit has been formed beyond counseling, he should be referred for treatment.
ii Government input – Drugs take a huge toll on health, welfare, safety, security and economic stability, which are all principally the responsibility of government.
- Supply Reduction-Government must ensure as a prevention strategy that it cut the bridge and the supply contacts for the drugs- traffickers, manufacturers, distributors, couriers, retailers and users. The chain is what gets the drug supply going government should cut it. Information can be obtained by interrogating arrested drug users. NDLEA has been doing a swell job in this regard.
- Demand reduction –public awareness is the best way to deal with this problem, the organs of government responsible for this should be fully employed and equipped. The federal information centers in the State and the State ministries of information are ready tools for the NDLEA They can go out into the villages and towns and employ the use of their cinema, public address gathering and so on to pass the packaged information. Another effort can come through law enforcement. Better still, government can set up a new civilian agency to tackle the problem of drug demand. Already there are those who feel uniformed men should not be the ones to preach the anti drug abuse theory.
- Harm Reduction- As efforts are made towards total eradication of the drug problem, there is need to minimize the harm caused by drugs both to the users and to the society. These include infection, violence, crime, mortality, and morbidity. The best way to achieve this is to extend services to them. Harm reduction centers can be opened all over the country to offer specialized information and counselling to drug users. They can also offer specialized services like needle exchanges for drug injection victims. It can also embark on the sale of some drugs, which might lead to violence in obtaining them.
TERTIARY PREVENTION STRATEGY
At the final level of drug abuse, the problem can still be helped. This final stage deals mostly with persons who have become dependent, for who there are hardly any possibility of retreat at least on their own as a result of the withdrawal syndrome. So they are taken to a hospital where they are gradually helped to stop the habit. Both society and government must work together at this stage. Government providing the treatment while the society ensures follow-up. Government must also provide for rehabilitation of the treated cases, offer vocational training or employment while the society ensure the reintegration of the victim and de-stigmatization of treated substance- dependent persons. At a much later time the treated person can be used in offering lectures to young people about substance abuse.
Many people today look neat, smart and healthy. They work in high government offices, corporate organizations and businesses, but they are really substance – dependents. Some of them are alcoholics, other live on psychotropic drugs everyday, yet others are hooked on marijuana, cocaine, heroin or tobacco. These people are aware that they have a problem and are willing to undergo some kind of treatment. But none would agree to go to a psychiatric hospital because of the stigma attached to it. These are not mad people, they are just sick.
These people live with their problem until it leads to a more serious complication, like madness or death. This then calls for the need for government to open treatment centres for the substance – dependent persons in Nigeria. Presently, only a few private efforts are available and they are either too expensive or too far-flung.
All countries of the world must go one step further than their present efforts by enacting harsher penalties for trafficking of drugs and must ensure the apprehension of drug couriers at all ports of entry. There must also be trans-border co-operation between countries of close proximity and technical cooperation between developed and developing nations and between countries that have an interlinked interest in the problem. For example drug producing nations and drug consuming nations and/ or transit countries.
Some international organizations are helping developing countries to meet the scourge. UNODCCP, through its affiliate UNDCP has in Nigeria been cooperating on the one hand with government in policy improvement and on the other with other NGOs in direct advocacy and research. There is also HONLEA, a UN idea, the Organization of Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies, which meets regularly to update their records on trends in the trafficking and abuse of substance. The Commission On Narcotic Drugs initiates and deals with policy at the UN level for the consumption and subsequent application by member states though the UN General Assembly. There is the need for the international community to have as strong a force in controlling substance abuse as it does in substance trafficking. The difference between the two critical areas is too glaring. It is clear that drug abuse control requires more commitment political, financial and human but it should be seen as the object of trafficking in the long run and therefore attacked squarely.
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Hon. Umaru Aliyu Tsanyawa has spent all his life in drug – related postings in Community Health Institutions located in different parts of the present Kano and Jigawa States. His first stint with politics started in 1983, where he won election as a member, Kano State House of Assembly. He was chairman Health Committee. This success encouraged him to contest elections into the National Assembly representing Tsanyawa/Kunchi, which he won in 1999. In the house, he was a distinguished member of Narcotics Committee, and chairman of its Drugs Sub-Committee. He is also member of Industrial, Appropriations, Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation Committees.
He is involved with CRISA – The Center for Research and Information into Substance Abuse in Jos, and has travelled to all the states of the Federation assessing Mental Health Institutions. He has also visited Saudi Arabia, Britain, U.S., Holland and China.
Suleiman Haruna is a Public Relations Practitioner and before that had all along been Federal Information Officer who worked in Lagos, Kano and Abuja offices of the Federal Ministry of Information and elsewhere. In that capacity, he served in informing, enlightening and reorienting the citizenry on programmes of the Federal Government, which include the drug abuse issue. He had also served various NGOs including Youth Movement of Nigeria, which mothered a Drug–Free Association in Kano. He is an accomplished writer with three books to his credit namely: The Kano State of Audu Bako, 1996; Time’s Pace, Time’s Space, 2000; and A twist to the Tale 2002. He is widely published.
Haruna is a graduate of Bayero University Kano and Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.
DEWDROP COMMUNICATIONS, 2002