Going by the historic formation of Nigeria political system in past and present policy frameworks, the government has deliberately refused giving the needed attention to youth affairs until recently when a directorate of youth affairs and social mobilization in Edo State was created, as part of incumbent agenda to attend to the necessary evils related to Youth Violence in the state. Due to the political antecedent, the problem of drugs and alcohols usage has endangered the youth, thereby giving a statistical draw-back towards the needed atmosphere for sustainable policy implementation.
Understanding what drugs is fundamental to their potential abuses, and it is also a move to create a record how drugs can led to increase in high level of crime and violence in the Niger Delta religion, and all other religious and sectarian prone zones in Nigeria.
Psychologically speaking, psychoactive substance is something that people take to change the way they feel, think or behave. Furthermore, some of these substances are called drugs, and others, like alcohols and tobacco are considered dangerous but are not called drugs. The term drugs also cover a number of substances, which must be used under medical supervision to treat illnesses.
The commissioner for the Ministry of Health in the past made several errors in their policy implementation, without considering the psychosocial and economic dilemmas to the state. Incidentally, in the past administration, more than 28.05% of the state budget went into the fight against crime, while 12% would have been used to avert the crime before it occurrence through sensitization workshops and publicity. Ironically, the same percentage at present can be channeled into a directorate empowered with the responsibility to orientate and educate the youths on the dangers of drugs abuse, in order to avert future recurrent issues relating to violence which has plagued the states and her youth force.
Consequently, with the right resources and manpower, the Oshiomole Administration through its creation of the Directorate of Youth Affairs and Social Mobilization (DYASM). This is a sign of the administration’s readiness to combat crime, and put the youths in the forefront of government policy implementation. One of the major areas in the framework of the new directorate is to study and conduct research on youth violence and other issues of Drug abuse.
For our purpose therefore, let me intimate us all of the State Government’s commitment to give hope to the youth of the state; and inculcate in them the spirit of peace, and the expression of their political franchise. Although with the power vested on the DYASM; the government can be rest assured that violence, especially cult related ones will be reduced to its bearest minimum.
The Directorate must be given its full mandate according to the law to exercise its judicial functions. And based on the clause of the law which brought the Directorate into being, it was created to secure serene governance through its enlightenment campaign, using the media houses at all levels. This will only but spice up numerous strategies for mobilization and orientation for youths.
A particular issue is of gray importance, and this is concerned with drug abuses, which has affected the youth, giving rise to unprecedented death toll of more than 13.2% for the last 9years of our nation’s democratic process. For our convenience let us treat drug abuse as those man-made or naturally occurring substances used without medical supervision basically to change the way a person feels, thinks or behaves so that they can enjoy the good things of life. In the past, most drugs were made from plants; that is, plants were grown and then converted into drugs such coca paste, opium and marijuana.
Over the years, the crude products were further processed to yield drugs like cocaine and heroin. And finally, in the 20th century people found out how to make drugs from chemicals. These are called man-made, or synthetic, drugs and include speed, ecstasy, LSD, etc. These were initially manufactured, largely for experimental reasons and only later were they used for recreational purposes. Now, however, with the increased size and scope of the drug trade, people set out to invent drugs especially for recreational human consumption.
This same recreational tendencies has blended into the genetic nature of human life and activities, it agreed with some theories, while to some it was hugely unstable causing series of side effects such as hallucination and psychotic episodes; ranging from neurosis to schizophrenia. It is in these episodes of varying propensity and intensity that the motivation to commit crime is centered, due to unprecedented offshoots of unconscious paranoia and anger synthesis; hence violence and motivated crimes were sometimes perpetuated and mastermind in a euphoric unconsciousness by the youth force.
Designed drug-cocktails appeared and disappeared with astonishing regularity, tentatively, for the first time in human history a whole industrial complex created and produced drugs that were meant to be used outside and in defiance of social conventions for the sole purpose of personal enjoyment. There are a whole lot of issues wrong with drug abuse. Although substance abuse has many negative physiological health effects, ranging from minor issues like digestion problems or respiratory infections, to potentially fatal diseases, like AIDS and hepatitis (American Psychological Association (APA) 2006, P.15) are eminent. Of course, the attendant effects depended on the drug and on the amount, method and frequency of use.
In retrospect, some drugs are very addictive, like heroin, while others are less so. But the up-shop is that regular drug abuse or sustained exposure to a drug-even for a short period of time-can cause physiological dependence, which means that when the person stop taking drugs, he/she experiences physical withdrawal symptoms and a craving for the drug. Medically, drug abuse also causes brain damage. Again depending on the drug, the strength and character of this damage varies. But one thing is clear; drug abuse affects the way the brain function, and alters its responses to the world.
Some things that acts on one’s brain and the general consciousness of any individual is called psychoactive, this explains how drugs affects individual behavior, actions, feelings and motivations are known to be unpredictable. By meddling in the natural ways the brain functions, abusers exposes themselves to risks they are not aware of. Finally; drug abuse damages the ability of people to act as free and conscious beings, capable of taking the right action and decision. Hence crime and violence becomes inevitable. Drug abusers are unable to fulfill their basic needs, while so many frustrated abusers resort to crime and violence as a means to quell their hyperactivity.
In the ideal sense of the word, in the past, drugs were not as strong and potent as they are now; even the so-called ‘Natural’ or soft drugs like marijuana or ‘skunk’ are many times more powerful than they were in the 1980’s. Therefore the agencies with the blueprint that know what the youths are going through in Edo state is DYASM. Frankly they are thousands of youths who are suffering from drug related cases, and by proxy they need help from Government policies circumventing around youth sustainable developments. The prior function of the youth affairs and social mobilization is to sensitize the youths on numerous opportunities available to them.
INVENTING THE SYNERGY FOR PREVENTION
The YASM need to take action to help the youths in the state, through its sustainable initiative model in tackling issues that are scheduled to support their sustenance. The function of YASM is to identify those youths that working hard to make the state habitable, and reward them; while formulating policies through government assistance in bringing youths in the hinterland so that their voice would be heard, and assisted in whatever initiative brought by them to the government. And also orientate them on the ills of violence, drug abuse and other social vices. The directorate should encourage youth parliament within the state to participate in mass media to discus those projects that directly affects them. Through the directorate I am quite sure the state government will formulate policies that will empower the youths, granting them permission to created a report by making themselves useful, and in compliance and in agreement with government existing policies, and such reports should be the bases for further government policy forecast.
Dr. Carl-Collins Ogunshola Oshodi
PhD, Conflict Management
PhD, Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution
Msc. Clinical Psychology
Msc. Military Science
Bsc. Applied Psychology