THAT fact that youths, across the world, take drugs to feel better and for fun is a known fact but it is surprising how they are oblivious or not bothered about the side effects. The use of hard drugs can be traced to the 1840’s when John Jacob started smuggling opium into China against imperial orders.
Opium is a yellow-brown addictive narcotic drug obtained from the dry juice of unripe pods of the opium poppy, papaversomniferum, and containing alkaloids such as morphine, codeine and Papaverine.
Opium smoking and injection of opium derivatives like morphine created hardcore drug users in England and the United States, but the main toll of opium use in the West was felt among casual users who started using opium under doctor’s orders. Opium was medically acceptable and could be found in some patent medicines prescribed for everything from pain to depression.
This led to widespread addiction and became, in effect, America’s first opioid epidemic. But in spite of education and enlightenment, youths of this century still misuse those drugs and end up damaging their immune system. An example is HBO’s “The wire” actor, Michealk Williams who died of heroin overdose in his penthouse. This man was a good actor and he had his life ahead of him but he ended up killing himself due to an overdose.
Williams is not the first to die of an overdose, popular musician, Juicy World Juice WRLD was best-known for his viral 2018 hit ‘Lucid Dreams’ and often talked about mental health, dying and drugs in his music. He died in 2019 at the age of 21 as a result of oxycodine and codine toxicity.
These drugs are dangerous but youths especially in Nigeria are oblivious to the dangers. They inculcate these bad traits from people living abroad just because they feel it is in vogue. The ‘Yahoo boys’ in particular have this mentality. We see musicians who smoke weed and inhale Shisha.
Smoking Shisha originally arose as a traditional form of smoking particularly in Asian and Middlle-Eastern communities. It has recently gained popularity in bars in the West, and public health officials have recently given it the status of an epidemic.
Studies by the CDC in 2021 revealed that those who smoke Shisha consider it less harmful than smoking cigarettes. In reality, shisha smoke may yield over 30 times more carcinogenic tar than cigarette smoke and up to 15 times more carbon monoxide. These are very dangerous chemicals in the human body.
Youths are however not to blame because they tend to copy everything they see on television. Popular musician, Azeez Fashola aka Naira Marley is always seen in his music video with weed. Most times, he goes as far as encouraging girls not to go to school. He made a post on Instagram saying that “it’s better to have big bumbum than qualifications.“ This comment attracted attacks from various people. Some people are still indecisive on whether he is an inspiration or a bad influence but the fact is he is a role model to many youths and he doesn’t give good examples for them to follow.
Youths engage in this despite the information at their disposal. They know the side effects but they still do it. The solution to this menace is education. Proper enlightenment of youths from secondary school will help reduce the intake of illegal drugs.
Oore-ofe Ojo-Lanre, Ibadan.
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