The hidden drug troubles
Most people who use drugs don’t think they have any problem and even when they are dropped out of school, have problem with their families, have accident, they don’t still think that the drugs they are taking are responsible for the things happening to them.”
These were the words of Dr. Ebiti Williams, the head of clinical services and also head of drug and alcohol treatment unit at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital in Kaduna.
According to him majority of people who are into drugs are not interested in stopping, only a few want to.
Commenting on the effect of drug use on the victims, he said that the use of drugs leads to high risk behaviours including driving recklessly, involvement in extra-marital affairs or unprotected sex, fighting and killing among other.
He blamed the increased drug use among youths for the insecurity bedevilling the country especially the northern part of the country.
To him, the use of substances will certainly fuel bad behaviours. “There are things that no normal human being is expected to do, for example walking into a school where there are children and killing all of them. It has absolutely nothing to do with religion and it is obvious that perpetrators of such acts must be under the influence of one substance or the other to be able to carry out such massacre.
So we are likely going to be having this problem of insecurity as drug use increases and a lot more problem associated with violence, armed robbery, fighting, killing and such reckless wastage of human lives. There is going to be lots of atrocities in a society where there is a lot of drug use,” he stressed.
Interestingly, some of the drugs abused according to Dr. Ebiti have medicinal uses but majority of the people using the drugs are using them for their euphoric effect and for the high they get from them.
He cited a typical example of Bennylin cough syrup with codeine, which is used for treatment of cough but people who abuse it use it for the high and the euphoric feelings it gives to them.
Tramadol, he also said is used medicinally for pain relief but people who abuse it, using it for the euphoric effect.
He also stated that there is medicinal use for cannabis but 99.9% of people who smoke it do so for the high feeling it gives to them and not for the medicinal purpose.
On whether the use of tramadol and other substances kills, Dr. Ebiti said it is far fetched as he has not personally witnessed the death of anyone who died directly as a result of using tramadol but that if use has been associated with psychotic illness, the victims may break down and run mad or break down with mental illness; adding that some of them could have seizures, that is, epilepsy as a result of prolonged use of tramadol.
The Kaduna State Commander of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Alhaji Mohammed Jibrin, confirmed the rehabilitation of about 90 women who according to him are already un-useful to the society.
“Within a short period, we were able to bring back to normal about 90 female drug addicts. Some of the women were already going abnormal and medically unfit as a result of drug use. What we do is to put them under guidance and counselling for sometime, this counsellor preaches to them and guides them on the proper way to live and gradually remove the person from the drug environment,”
“For the period that the victims are with us, they don’t have access to drugs for use; we have an agreement with their parents or husbands or relations that brought them on the period they are going to stay with us,” Jibrin said.
According to the commandant, “If we are the ones that arrested the drug addicts, we call their parents or husbands to tell them that the person is with us, and that we will want to correct such a person. The duration of drug addicts’ stay with the counsellors ranges from three months to one year. We also teach them some vocational skills during the period,” he said while he noted that the agency also introduces sports and religious teachings to the drugs victims taken to their facilities in Zaria.
“If she is a Christian, we have a pastor that preaches to them, if she is a Muslim, we get a Muslim cleric that also preaches to them and they must pray five times daily. We will also subject them to hearing of preachings by Islamic cleric, and they listen to the word of God, twice daily.
“In the early afternoon, they engage in sports with colleagues, and come back. By the time such a person spend’s six months without any drug to take; his mind will totally be taken out of drugs. This is a psycho-social therapy to remove drug from the person. After undergoing all the processes, the victim would be reformed and by the time, she gets back to the society, she/he would have become a changed person and no more a drug addict.
“We also normally advise parents or guardians to establish the victims after they has acquired skills in different vocations. Even if it means taking loans to set them up because it is idleness that pushes some of them to drugs and now that they have learned a trade,” he said.
Speaking further, he said NDLEA also embarks on what is called ‘After care’ where NDLEA check the victim from time to time or ask the parents to bring her from time to time for observation.
“Among women, there is a very high increase in drug abuse. The increase is not on illicit drugs that we are all aware of. While NDLEA is winning the war on cocaine, heroine and cannabis among others; our youths and women are exploring other areas. Items that are meant for legal use are now been abused by our youths but we are working with the state government on a law that will stem it,” Jibrin added.
Uncontrolled drug sales constitute access to abuse.