Youths in Cross River State are increasingly becoming addicted to narcotics, a veritable malady which once indulged in, gets into the bones and cannot be shaken off easily with all efforts. The result most often is that not only the young addict, but his family is doomed.
Various factors are at work for this raging growth. The commonest is a feeling of deep depression and gloom among tender aged youths. We are in a contemporary age of heightened tempo of life where a domestic atmosphere and parental relation are not all that is desired.
Often, both parents go out to work leaving the child uncared for therefore making subconscious discontent a primary cause of teenagers going astray. Recent reports of drug dealers arrested in Calabar, the capital city of Cross River State shows that Cross River is the end point of most of the drug trade in the South South region of the country.
“Cross River State is a dead end, so almost all the drugs that you see in Cross River are principally for consumption” said Ibrahim basher, the Assistant State Commander in Operational Intelligence of the National Drug Law enforcement Agency in the reports.
He continued; “Alcohol consumption here is high and it’s seen as a normal thing here, so you see children as little as five and six years being exposed to alcohol. Teenagers are greatly involved [in the selling of drugs], and another thing they do here is that they use the youths to sell, because they know that anybody below the age of 18 cannot be prosecuted. Instead such a person would be counselled and allowed to go, so they use them as hawkers at the joints and big hotels.”
Several other findings show that paid agents are used to tempt depressed youths since tender aged ones are naturally attracted to anything novel and unknown and with the chemical contents of drugs like marijuana, heroin, cocaine, L.S.D and hashish creating temporary forgetfulness and a dreamland sort of feeling, a habit is easily formed and soon the addict turns anti-social, resorts to all sorts of crimes to have the money to buy the drug and leads the life of a wreck with deadened sensation
about the outside world and the cherished human values. He is lost to the society and gradually glides to his grave. In this way the promising career of a large number of youths is blasted. What a pity!
The path of getting addicted is rather smooth in comparison with the process of cure and reformation.
The isolation of addicts from hardened companions is usually the first step before been place under specialized medical treatment followed by a sympathetic approach to bring the patient back to normal ways with physicians and the police as well the society having a role to play to achieve this.
They must be concerted efforts to combat this scourge, the media has to be effectively utilized for awareness purposes with the younger generation targeted to prevent them from joining the fray. All routes to drug peddling have to be sealed to make them scarce and ex-addicts should not be looked down on but treated with compassion and care.
A sense of optimism should be bred in them to turn a new leaf of life in order to become useful and responsible members of the society for the adage; “Every sinner has a future just as a saint has a past” says it all.
Ikwen Atuaka is CrossRiverWatch’s correspondent in Obudu
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