Hundred Bags Of Indian Hemp Are Consumed Daily By Lagos Residents

Facilitates the trade in these drugs,” he says.

Mr Aernan also blames the trend on peer group influence, which he believes pushes some young people into cult activities resulting in the use of illegal drugs.

According to him, while some young people fall into drugs to “experience” because of their curiosity, others become drug lords for financial gain.

“Unemployment is another cause of drug trafficking.

Many have taken up drug trafficking as a business.

So, it now goes beyond its use for commercial benefits.

“If you check the amount of cannabis consumed per day only in Lagos, you find that it is more than 100 bags.

“If someone selling hemp can make a profit of three thousand naira or more per day.

Do you think people like this would want to stop?” he asked.

Mr Aernan says that although there is control over ephedrine imports, abuse is also widespread.

“Codeine was originally used to make cough syrup, but indiscriminate abuse of the drug led to its immediate ban.

“Some of these young people go ahead and buy boxes of codeine and drink straight to get the ‘feel’,” he says.

According to him, some hard drugs now have variants that are also used by young people in an effort to gain new experiences.

“For example, there is a variant of cocaine called crack, which is a combination of cocaine, heroin, metaphetamine and other addictive substances used by our youth.

“The drugs recently intercepted in Lagos came from the high seas and were in excess of two tons.

“Nowadays, it is very important to educate young people about the dangers of drug trafficking.

“It also requires parents to check their wards’ itineraries and keep strict records of their commitments,” he advises.

One parent, Osariemen Amadasun, attributes the high drug crime rate to uncontrolled internet use.

Ms. Amadasun says many young people use the internet for the wrong reasons.

He believes that drug abuse goes hand in hand with cybercrime known as yahoo yahoo, and he believes that young people are at the heart of that crime.

“Some of these young men and even women stay awake at night watching their laptops so that the next unsuspecting person falls prey to their scams.

“They will ingest substances to keep their minds and bodies awake.

To use their slang, it is to be awake as a fish, waiting for the next Kiya.

“More worrying is the fact that these young people cook their food with some of these hard drugs, drink and inject them just to get a high.

“It becomes a complicated case trying to rehabilitate these drug victims, as some of them see and feel their body systems shutting down.

“The danger of using drugs is that once you start, it’s almost impossible to stop; Parents need to be aware of their responsibilities,” she demands.

A nurse who worked at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos State, Ifienwa Nwachukwu, says: “Many of the psychological conditions we find in hospitals are caused by drug abuse.

“As a psychiatric nurse, I have been with drug victims; From the way they behave, one can easily tell that they have used heavy drugs.

“Although with drugs, some of these drug users become relatively stable, it is better that youth are properly guided so as not to fall into any form of illicit substance ingestion.

“The negative effects are long-lasting,” she warns.

She suggests regular seminars and other awareness campaigns on the negative effects of hard drugs as strategies to stem the tide of drug crime.

Ms. Nwachukwu advises that seminars can be held in schools, hospitals, health centers and religious centers.

King’s Uzoma, a 22-year-old rehabilitated drug victim, says he became addicted to drugs in 2019 after setting up a small computer operation business.

According to him, his work schedule made him new friends.

“We lived near Agric in the Ojo area of Lagos.

When I started getting big customers, who stayed in my store until night when I should be closing, I started to get interested in what they were doing.

“I then left my parents’ house in Ojo to live with them on Victoria Island, where they introduced me to rice cooked with codeine.

From there, we traveled to Ghana.

“In Ghana, I no longer understood what was happening to me.

I woke up one day and found myself in Nigeria with bruises all over my body,” he says.

According to him, he was prescribed medication at the hospital before he regained consciousness.

Another lawyer, Emmanuel Ozodi, calls for tough penalties for drug-related offences.

According to him, judges give punishments as short as six months’ imprisonment or a fine for drug trafficking.

He believes that such penalties have not sufficiently served as deterrents to drug offences.

The lawyer says that while Nigeria should not punish drug-related crimes with the death penalty, the country must show a strong will to fight the threat with strong penalties.

NDLEA Chairman, Buba Marwa recently called for the punishment of drug trafficking by removing the option of fines for drug offenders.

At the annual dinner at the Institute for Change Management in Lagos in December 2021, Mr. Marwa said: “It is worrying that some of our officers are dying in the course of fighting drug traffickers, but in the end, some of these offenders, when brought to justice they just get fined, and then they go back to the same thing.”

According to Mr. Marwa, the problem of hard drugs in Nigeria is huge. “We have to shut down the pipeline.

That is, take the traffickers and their barons out of the picture.

We must begin an aggressive campaign to reduce the supply of drugs.

“For this purpose, we launched the Anti-Drug Abuse campaign, which, in the long run, aims to help prevent a culture of drug abuse from becoming ingrained in the youth of our society.”

Analysts call on parents, guardians, carers, school management, religious leaders, non-governmental organizations, corporate entities and others to join forces with governments to control drug offenses to save the youth – tomorrow’s leaders – from their bad consequences.

They are also calling for changes in policies and legislation that will stem the tide of drug-related crimes.


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