"Don't harm them, speak with them like normal human beings, don't hate them, and don't be scared of them, these are some of the ways of dealing with drug addicts", David, a Lagos resident shared.
Can the issue of drug abuse be tackled in Lagos? What is the prevalence of drug abuse among youths in Lagos?
How should people relate with youths who abuse drugs?
Is it just the responsibility of the government alone to address the issue of drug abuse among youths? Why are people into drugs?
These questions might have popped up in the minds of average Lagosians who are not into drugs as Lagos is a hotbed for drug and substance abuse in the Southwest.
AllNews Nigeria reached out to a few Lagosians to provide answers to the questions above.
According to research, Lagos State which has a 33 per cent prevalence rate occupies the first position in drug abuse in the South-West.
AllNews Nigeria had a chat with individuals from some of the ‘hotspots’ of the menace threatening the future of Nigerian youths.
In Lagos, some markets are well known for the sale of particular goods.
Computer Village in Ikeja is well known for the sale of phones, Alaba market is a market basically known for the sales and distribution of electronic items, while Aswani Market has a reputation for sales of fairly used items.
But in recent times, when you mention some areas in Lagos, what comes to mind is hard drugs. One of these areas is Oshodi.
AllNews Nigeria took a visit to Oshodi where it was observed that many teenagers and youths in the area are wasting away, no thanks to the consumption of hard drugs.
Easily spotted by their looks and appearances, these youngsters are rough-looking, switching on cigarette lighters to draw attention, and also smoking Indian hemp.
Ikenduka Fortune, one of the residents in the area, said, "For you to identify these drug addicts, the first thing you notice is their appearance.
“They always look dirty and unkempt, their eyeballs are always red, they talk slowly like someone who does not know what he/she is saying, they also stagger when they walk.
“Also, when they are starved of these drugs or when they don't have them in large quantities, it affects their temperament and they become harsh and aggressive.”
On the kind of people they are, he shared, "Personally, I have had good relationships with some of these drug addicts and I have seen that most of them are good-minded people, but the drugs they take affect their psychology in the sense that when these drugs are not available for them, they become desperate.
“In fact, they can kill to get the drugs and this is why politicians tend to use them as political thugs because no matter how small the amount they are being offered, they will be eager to accept it just because they need the drugs.
"Most of them are also homeless, they sleep on the Oshodi railway lines and under the bridge."
Ikotun is a community in Lagos state's northwest region, as well as the home of Alimosho, the state's largest local government area.
It is also one of the busiest areas in Lagos.
A haven for drug addicts in the area, it was observed that they make no effort to conceal the vice that plagues them.
David, a resident of Ikotun, who gave the advice earlier and whose neighbour is a drug addict, disclosed that the latter takes hard drugs mainly because he is depressed and wants to feel good.
According to him, some of the drugs he takes are Molly and Kollos
"Many young people are into drugs due to peer pressure, which has led a lot of them into being addicted to these drugs.
"My neighbour who is a drug addict, however, once told me that he takes Molly and Kollos because he is depressed and wants to feel good", he said.
Speaking on how to relate with drug addicts, David said, "They are human beings like us, we should relate with them like every other human being, we should hate the act and not hate them."
He also identified some of the ways we can help them to include "Constantly checking up on them, advising them and letting them know the dangers of drugs to their health."
Ojuelegba under bridge is another notorious spot where drug addicts can be found in Lagos.
Toheeb Olasunkanmi, who resides in the area, said that youths are into drug abuse due to influences from friends, unemployment and improper upbringing.
Identifying how the problem of drug abuse can be tackled, he said; "Open or public use of drugs should be prohibited, roadside shops or local outlets for the sale of hard drugs should be abolished, governments should organise educational programs to sensitise drug addicts on the dangers of consumption of harmful substances.
Idumota is an area where illicit drugs thrive and the sellers and buyers do their business without hitches, out-of-school children consume these drugs like normal food, they are not scared of using these drugs in open places.
"At night, you will see them attacking people that are way older than them just to collect money from them and at the end of the day, you will see them using the money to purchase hard drugs", Olaniyi disclosed.
Adeniyi, who resides in Idumota advised that governments at all levels should endeavour to tackle the issue of drug abuse in Nigeria, noting that Lagos is not the only state where it is rampant.
The use of hard drugs in Agege is no secret.
AllNews Nigeria reached out to Dr Dorcas (not real name), a mental health expert at Orile-Agege General Hospital who suggested how the issue of drug abuse can be tackled among youths.
According to her, it is not the work of the government alone to address drug abuse in Lagos but also it is the major responsibility of parents.
She stressed that when parents create time for their children and communicate with them from time to time it will be difficult for such children to be influenced by peer pressure.
"When parents create time for their children and communicate with them effectively, they will know the kind of friends their children move with, and this is more likely to prevent the children from going into drugs because most youths who get involved in drug abuse are mostly as a result of peer influence, and lack of parental care.
"Therefore, it is majorly the responsibility of parents and not the government to curb drug abuse."
Fatima Dauda, the Deputy Superintendent of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), recently urged youths to shun drug abuse and addiction for a greater and better future.
She said that drugs and substance abuse have become a threat to Nigerian society and the global community as a whole.
Dauda stated that Nigerian youths should shun drug abuse because it not only affects the mental and emotional health but also the daily living, performance and productivity of an individual.
She also listed some effects of drug abuse including lack of concentration, mental disorders, depression, kidney damage, cardiovascular disease, loss of weight and murder/assassination among others.
“Drug abuse destroys destiny, dreams and makes the user useless for life if care is not taken,” she added.
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