Drug parties revelry among youths
By Babatunde Ayedoju
Towards the end of November, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency reported that its operatives raided a lounge in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, where a night party organised for illicit substance abuse was scheduled to be held, arresting some of the organisers who were found with drug exhibits.
The Buba Marwa-led anti-narcotics agency noted that the raid followed reliable intelligence that some individuals were planning a night party tagged, “Unholy Alliance…for Stoners and Drunkards,” where various kinds of illicit substances were going to be sold and consumed by patrons.
The spokesperson for the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, in a statement, said, “Soon after the organisers began to gather at Berrymist Lounge, located at the Ofatedo area of Osogbo to start the party, the NDLEA operatives swooped on them, arrested them and recovered illicit substances and drug paraphernalia from them.
“Those arrested included: Ikotu Omolayo, 25; Fola Olabode, 30, and Akorede Adunni Ajibola, 22. The management of the Lounge has also been invited for further investigation. This came on the heels of an earlier raid on Thursday, November 23, at Area 5 Forest Reserve, Ile-Ife where operatives recovered 156kgs of cannabis sativa.”
Meanwhile, about two months ago, a group of young individuals manufactured counterfeit Milo sachet beverages mixed with marijuana, meticulously sealed them to mimic genuine Milo brand. The aim was purportedly to outsmart the unsuspecting public and security operatives.
At the birthday celebration organized by 24-year-old Omolewa from Osun State, one Miss Fife, mastermind of the counterfeit marijuana-infused Milo arrived with some sachets, labeled ‘Milo Kush,’ with the intention of selling each for N1,500.
Trouble began among the party goers after consuming these marijuana-laced Milo sachets along with cigarettes and the tension eventually escalated into a full blown fight. Security operatives were invited and they made some arrests.
The suspects arrested included Omolewa (24, from Osun), Timilehin Ifeoluwa (27, from Ibadan), Mudashiru Sukura (27, from Oyo), and Abosede Ogundipe and they admitted they were close friends. However, the actual manufacturer and merchant of the product, whom everyone accused of being behind the act, remained elusive as at the time the story went viral.
In the viral video that surfaced online, while undergoing questioning, the suspects could be seen exhibiting a nonchalant demeanor, their countenances adorned with smiles reminiscent of individuals who had failed to realize that they would be made the music.
It is now well-established that young people employ various methods to bring themselves to a state of intoxication. They go as far as mixing marijuana with Milo, giving it street-name codes such as “Milo Kush, Choco Milo, high tea or Pablo coffee”
Investigations revealed that more than 11 percent of Nigeria’s youth population is involved in the consumption of substances like Syrup, tramadol, Diazepam, cocaine, Shisha mix, and others. Likewise, according to the 2021 World Drug Report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), approximately 275 million people globally used drugs in the past year, with over 36 million individuals suffering from drug use disorders. The 2018 National Drug Use Survey in Nigeria revealed that, at that time, there were approximately 14.3 million drug users, and nearly three million of them were grappling with drug use disorders.
The World Drug Report also highlighted a concerning trend: over the past 24 years, the potency of cannabis has increased by up to four times in certain regions worldwide. Additionally, the percentage of adolescents perceiving cannabis as harmful has decreased by as much as 40 percent.
This is despite substantial evidence indicating that cannabis use is associated with various health and other adverse effects, particularly among those who use it regularly over the long term. In Nigeria, there are approximately 11 million cannabis users, and a third of them appear to be regular users in need of drug counseling.
Dr Salman Adisa, an educational psychologist attributed the increasing trend of drug addiction among youths to poor parenting, unemployment and poverty. Adisa opined that a lot of parents nowadays, especially the wealthy ones, have a nonchalant attitude towards the upbringing of their children, making the children to easily learn bad habits, prominent among which are drug addiction and drug partying. He added that some of the youths have even gone beyond Indian hemp to very expensive ones because they have access to money, and their parents do not care about what they do with their lives.
He also blamed the ugly trend on the fact that many youths are unemployed. According to him, unlike in the past when even secondary school leavers could be gainfully employed, now, even with a degree, a lot of youths still find it difficult to get good jobs, a precursor to poverty. “Therefore, they become easy preys to wrong influence by friends who may introduce them to drugs,” he added.
Dr Adisa, who noted that day by day law enforcement agents arrest youths who romance with drugs, cited weaknesses among the security agencies as reason why the situation has not improved, despite the arrests being made regularly. He said that the sincerity of law enforcement agencies in tackling drugs among youths is not guaranteed, because a lot of perpetrators seem to have the mindset that even when arrested they can easily go scot free.
Talking about the likely solutions, Adisa said that, like every other social problem, drug partying and other drug related vices among youths can only be reduced but it cannot be stamped out completely.
He, however, said that government should create more jobs, beyond the unsustainable empowerment schemes that they keep coming up with. Likewise, he said, “Parents should also be more serious with parenting because youths have evolved more sophisticated means of gaining access to drugs, courtesy of social media.”
While questioning the logic behind parents allowing their children in primary and secondary schools have access to sophisticated gadgets, he recommended that modern-day parents should go back to the way parents trained children in the olden days.
Likewise, Dr Mrs. Kemi Adebola, a sociologist, blamed the trend of drugs among youths on the fact that peddlers know that there is a good market for the illicit substances. She said that though sellers know that what they are doing is wrong, they devised subtle ways of going about such an illicit transaction.
To address the trend, Adebola stated that the onus will be more on law enforcement agencies, but she added that people who have useful information about drug peddlers and users should share the same with the law enforcement agents. She also advocated that government should invest more in orientation of citizens.