Mar­ried women and drugs, ‘a time bomb wait­ing to ex­plode’

Daily Trust - - HOME FRONT - By Ruby Leo

Re­cently, there were re­ports that more num­ber of mar­ried women are get­ting hooked on drugs at an alarm­ing rate, a trend that will not au­gur well for their homes and fam­i­lies.

Moth­ers are sup­posed to be pil­lars of the home. They spend a lot of time with the chil­dren, shape and train them to be able to face the chal­lenges of life. Now, imag­ine when such an im­por­tant per­son is not in the right frame of mind to tackle her re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and chores.

Ali Baba Mustapha, As­sis­tant Su­per­in­ten­dent in charge of ex­hibits at the Sokoto State Com­mand of NDLEA, made this shock­ing rev­e­la­tion about the Nige­rian mar­ried women’s grow­ing ad­dic­tion to codeine, re­cently, dur­ing the Ji­gawa Day cel­e­bra­tion or­gan­ised by in­di­genes of the state at the Us­manu Dan­fodiyo Univer­sity Sokoto State.

He said that the ugly sit­u­a­tion has caused a sys­tem­atic break­down of the African cul­tural her­itage and tra­di­tions, lead­ing to many forms of crimes be­ing per­pe­trated by the youth.

Zainab Baba, a civil ser­vant in Katsina, said that at her ten­der age, she used to see her mother smoke cig­a­rette at night and some times in the day time when her fa­ther was not around.

She re­called that her mother, who would be some­what ag­i­tated be­fore the act, used to look calm af­ter smok­ing a stick of cig­a­rette and would then re­sume her chores.

Ac­cord­ing to her, it took her a while to re­alise that the act of smok­ing was not good for one’s health, say­ing: “Im­me­di­ately I got mar­ried, I started smok­ing the same brand of cig­a­rette my mother used to smoke when­ever I was ag­i­tated or frus­trated, to help calm my nerves.”

But us­ing drugs or cig­a­rettes to calm one’s nerves when un­der pres­sure is not the only rea­son why mar­ried women en­gage in the use of drugs, said Mustapha.

He claimed that these group of mar­ried women use codeine and other sub­stance to en­hance their sex­ual drive.

But Dr Vin­cent Udenze, a United King­dom-based con­sul­tant psy­chi­a­trist and the Med­i­cal Di­rec­tor Sy­napse Ser­vices, re­vealed that most per­sons ad­dicted to sub­stances do so to for­get some or­deal they suf­fered in their past or younger years, or their re­al­ity.

He added that most of the pa­tients he has re­ceived in his fa­cil­ity, in­clud­ing mar­ried women, youths and ado­les­cents started abus­ing drugs to cope with their friends.

He said: “What is most dis­turb­ing is the preva­lence of mar­ried women who use sub­stance, I mean drugs, both the sub­tle and the hard ones, and this is de­ter­mined by their sta­tus. The kind of drugs they buy will be de­ter­mined by how much they can af­ford at that time.

“Codeine is ac­ces­si­ble and avail­able and can be brought off the counter by any­one since these are not reg­u­lated. Some use heroin, co­caine, cannabis and, in most cases, they have agents who sup­ply them the prod­ucts for a fee, or they pa­tro­n­ise joints where they buy them from touts.”

One of his clients, Mrs Gla­dys Ume (not real name), who is presently re­ceiv­ing treat­ment, said that she found suc­cour in drinks, es­pe­cially as things were not go­ing quite well be­tween her and her hus­band.

“Things are too hard, my kids and my hus­band don’t un­der­stand I need some time. Once I had a few min­utes to my­self, I took al­co­hol. Now, I can’t func­tion with­out it, that’s why I am seek­ing help.”

Dr. Vin­cent Udenze also at­trib­uted the in­creas­ing rate of mar­ried women us­ing drugs to the daily pres­sures they face at home, say­ing: “Some of these women have to cope with the tra­vails of other wives, es­pe­cially those mar­ried into polyg­a­mous homes and we know deal­ing with the de­mands of such homes can be quite an or­deal.

“Oth­ers are try­ing to just for­get a past ex­pe­ri­ence that has re­ally scared them and made them not to en­joy their mat­ri­mo­nial home to the fullest, some who were sex­u­ally mo­lested when they were young find it hard to al­low in­ter­course with their spouse be­cause it’s a con­stant re­minder of the or­deal they went through.”

Many ex­perts, who have de­scribed the trend as a so­ci­etal prob­lem and wor­ri­some, said that drugs such as heroin, am­phet­a­mine-type stim­u­lants and over the counter drugs were in­creas­ingly be­ing abused across the coun­try.

Hauwa Ahmed, a busi­ness­woman, said: “Do you think it is easy to be a woman? I am not say­ing that the act is good. In short, it is very bad. But the truth is that most women that go into mar­riages are ill pre­pared for it, they are not ma­tured enough to han­dle all the is­sues that come with mar­riage, they think it is bed of rose.

“So when the is­sues, like quar­rels with her hus­band, chil­dren and stress of keep­ing the home start to rear their heads they look for other al­ter­na­tives to es­cape their re­al­i­ties.”

This as­ser­tion was shared by the gover­nor of Kano State, Dr. Ab­dul­lahi Umar Gan­duje, who, at a fo­rum to em­power women deal with so­cio-eco­nom­i­cal chal­lenges, de­cried the rate of di­vorce and how mar­ried women were im­prop­erly treated by their spouse.

He ad­vised par­ents to stop mar­ry­ing their daugh­ters at an early age, say­ing that the young girls were ill pre­pared for the chal­lenges of man­ag­ing the home.

Gan­duje ad­vo­cated for the ed­u­ca­tion of girls to em­power them build their fu­tures.

On the is­sue of drugs abuse, Udenze said that con­stant use of such sub­stance has an ad­verse ef­fect on the health of the in­di­vid­ual.

His words: “Un­der the in­flu­ence of any type of drugs, a per­son’s abil­ity to rea­son and make ac­cu­rate de­ci­sion is im­paired, and if used con­stantly can af­fect the brain cells. A per­son be­gins to feel that he or she can­not func­tion prop­erly with­out the aid of such a sub­stance.”

The NDLEA and NAFDAC are presently col­lab­o­rat­ing to check the in­flux of any kind of illegal sub­stance.

How­ever, over-the-counter drugs meant for coughs and catarrh con­tin­ues to be a prob­lem.

Udenze said: “We need to have pre­scrip­tions for all kinds of drugs, but we don’t have such a law here. Any­one can just walk into a phar­macy and buy any kind of drugs.”

But the di­rec­tor-gen­eral of NAFDAC, Paul Orhi, in a re­cent in­ter­view, said that the agency will ed­u­cate the public on the use of il­licit drugs and dan­gers at­tached to coun­ter­feits drugs.

Mean­while, as the NDLEA said that Nige­ria was a transit coun­try for drugs, the re­cent sur­vey done by the UNODC has re­vealed that Nige­ria might ac­tu­ally be a con­sum­ing na­tion of hard drugs.

This ugly trend must be checked by the author­i­ties to safe­guard the sanc­tity of our fam­i­lies and the dig­nity of the woman.

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