Drug use is moving on a fast pace in major cities across Nigeria. In Abuja, you will find codeine bottles littered on the street. Abuja has been getting unique attention for its high drug use. This is so alarming and then it brought the focus to the large amount of exhausted codeine bottles found on a street in Gwarimpa. This made it compulsory to question if the government and its anti-narcotics agency are making any headway in the battle to eliminate substance abuse in Nigeria.
Why is this a problem?
It would be careless to attribute this to any one factor but among all things, it is clear that access to these drugs is responsible for littering Abuja in a pile of codeine bottles. A little research by Tozali Magazine revealed that codeine is not listed by the NDLEA as an illegal intoxicant (that distinction is reserved for marijuana, heroin, cocaine and the likes). But while the threat that it poses is clearly recognized, it is all too easy for anyone with some few amount of money to get as much codeine as they want. Pharmacists sell the drugs, sometimes in bulk and there are roadside drug vendors and hawkers who hide the drug expertly in their bags, along with other substances like Tramadol and roofies. However much of the blame goes down to the price as this is what makes it accessible since the demand for codeine increased, cheaper locally sourced alternatives have shown up in drug stores. From the packaging to the level of care shown in putting them together, it is easy to see what market they are targeted at. The euphoria of codeine high may seem a lazy escape for the youth who take it. But we must not ignore the fact that many of these youths have found it a way to deal with other more pressing matters that are largely ignored by the society.
Abuja is the capital of Nigeria. The city is filled with children of the rich, influential and wealthy. Most of the drugs sold in the city are bought by the children of the ruling class whom it would be safe to say are over indulging in life thanks to the wealth of their parents. However, drug abuse is not peculiar to Abuja alone, as the menace of drug abuse is pervasive in the Northern part of the country and growing. Therefore it is time that we recognize this problem and address it in a sensible manner because the lives and future of our youths is endangered due to the intake of drugs especially codeine. And this, also involve the Girl Child and young ladies.
All hands must be on deck by all stakeholders. Everyone must take responsibility; Parents, Teachers, Religious leaders, Traditional rulers and the Government. Young people in Nigeria have been neglected too long it is time close attention and affection is being given to them. And this process begins with you and us; wonderful readers of Tozali Magazine, We need to rise up to this challenge and face it squarely before it consumes us. We, at Tozali Magazine have done our part. Now you do yours; share this post.
By Maimuna Bagudu