A Policy Advocacy Platform Think Tank on Nigeria (TTON) with membership cut across various professions, representing different geopolitical zones of Nigeria has identified governmental policies among others as major contributing factors to drug abuse in the country.
Penpushing reports that the platform made the observation in a communique issued at end of members deliberation noting that general observations include substance abuse, commonly referred to as drug abuse, involves the misuse of either legal or illegal drugs for non-therapeutic purposes.
The platform headed by Engr Dideolu Falobi in a communique endorsed by 300 members lamented that this issue is a growing concern, negatively impacting individuals, families, communities, and nations at large
Penpushing further reports that the communique stated that cultural norms, and traditions, play a role in the menace, as well as limited access to education and healthcare services often paves the way to substance abuse.
The group identified other factors as psychological distress, such as stress, anxiety, or depression which can be triggers, as well as an unstable family environment or the absence of family support can act as precursors.
Penpushing also reports that the communique noted other factors as environmental circumstances, like poverty or residing in areas with easy drug availability, can be influential, stressing those certain substances, like alcohol and tobacco, are more socially acceptable, making them more accessible and easier to misuse.
The platform however, charged parents that they should strive to act as friends rather than authority figures to their teenagers during this pivotal stage, noting that adolescence can be daunting, and without proper guidance, young individuals might feel isolated and lost.
‘By engaging in open dialogues and sharing personal stories from their own teenage years, parents can offer insights into managing relationships and balancing academic pursuits with personal aspirations’, the communique stated.
‘It’s crucial for parents to provide encouragement, especially during trying times. The goal should be to establish a foundation of trust, enabling children to confide any issues, including those related to substance abuse’, the group added.
Penpushing reports that the group stated that preventing and eradicating substance abuse necessitates a holistic approach, engaging a broad spectrum of stakeholders: individuals, families, community organizations, law enforcement bodies, healthcare professionals, and governmental entities.
The communique emphasized that addressing the root causes and key contributing factors is pivotal, pointing out that several tactics have proven effective, prominently centring around education about the perils of substance abuse.
‘To effectively address drug abuse and addiction in Nigeria, sustained efforts and a multi-sectoral approach are indispensable. Strict enforcement of policies, paired with appropriate penalties for offenders, is essential to maintain the policies’ effectiveness. Nigeria has put forth several strategies and programs to combat drug abuse and addiction’, the body added.
Penpushing further reports that the meeting during the discussion, spotlighted several potential solutions for curbing drug abuse in Nigeria which include heightening awareness about the hazards associated with drug consumption
‘A primary measure in preventing and eradicating substance abuse entails heightening awareness about the hazards associated with drug consumption. Achieving this involves spearheading public health campaigns and educational drives especially tailored for the youth’.
‘Education emerges as a pivotal instrument in the fight against substance abuse. Through informed educational initiatives, individuals garner the knowledge and acumen necessary for making enlightened choices about drug consumption. Furthermore, education aids in diminishing stigma while fostering a deeper comprehension of the triggers and repercussions of substance abuse’.
‘It’s paramount to furnish easily accessible drug treatment and rehabilitation avenues for those grappling with substance abuse. Comprehensive offerings should encompass counselling, therapeutic interventions, group support sessions, and the facilitation of medication-assisted treatments.
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