By Adedotun Ajayi
A fortnight ago, a group of young individuals manufactured counterfeit Milo sachet beverages mixed with marijuana, meticulously sealing them to mimic Nestlé Nigeria’s genuine Milo brand purportedly to throw the unsuspecting public and security operatives off the scent.
At the birthday celebration organized by 24-year-old Omolewa from Osun State, a surprising guest arrived – Miss Fife, the mastermind behind the counterfeit marijuana-infused Milo. She had brought these sachets, labeled ‘Milo Kush,’ with the intention of selling each for N1,500.
Trouble began brewing 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 called in, leading to arrests.
The suspects arrested, include Omolewa (24, from Osun), Timilehin Ifeoluwa (27, from Ibadan), Mudashiru Sukura (27, from Oyo), and Abosede Ogundipe and admitted, to be close friends
Curiously, the actual manufacturer and merchant of the product, whom everyone accused of being behind the operation, remained elusive as at the time of filing this report.
In the viral video that surfaced online, when questioning the suspects, it was observed that the suspects exhibited 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 a well-established fact that young people are employing various methods to achieve a state of intoxication, they go as far as mixing marijuana with Milo, which street names code are; “Milo Kush, Choco Milo, high tea or Pablo coffee”
The current state of health among Nigerian youths is both disheartening and concerning, particularly due to the rising prevalence of hard drug abuse. 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.
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.
Bukun Phil, a psychologist declared that the youth demographic is notably susceptible to drug usage and tends to experience more pronounced repercussions from substance use disorders across multiple regions.
He said “Upon viewing the viral video featuring those women, their conspicuous lack of remorse and beaming smiles strongly suggests a profound issue with substance abuse. This problem appears deeply ingrained in their lives and demands immediate rehabilitation to prevent further harm to themselves and others”
According to him; “Generally, drug abuse is often linked to mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and an increased risk of developing serious mental disorders like schizophrenia. It can exacerbate existing mental health conditions as well, and the consequences of youth drug abuse extend beyond the individual. Communities and society as a whole bear the burden of healthcare costs, crime, and lost productivity associated with substance abuse. As a matter of urgency, it’s essential to provide support, education, and access to treatment for young individuals facing substance abuse issues to mitigate these harmful impacts and help them lead healthier lives. Prevention and early intervention are crucial in addressing this complex problem” he concluded
In the same vein, Ayanleye Ayodeji, a public health educator said In Africa, a staggering 70 percent of individuals receiving treatment from drug abuse are under the age of 35. Certainly, the impacts of drug abuse on youths can have wide-ranging consequences, affecting their physical health, among others
According to him; “Imagine sharing drugs in a birthday party, in a crowded environment. Substance abuse can lead to various health problems, including overdose, heart issues, respiratory problems, and infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS from shared needles. Early substance abuse can set a negative trajectory for a person’s health and well-being throughout their life if not addressed promptly” he said
Also speaking, Omo oba Olatunji, a security personnel said engaging in drug-related activities can result in legal troubles, including arrests and convictions. This can have long-lasting consequences on a young person’s record and future opportunities.
According to him; “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has said that his administration is committed to the country’s fight against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking, apprehending those ladies mixing India hemp with Milo is just part of the efforts to curtail drug problem in this country, and it would not end at that, many more new ideas these drug cartels are employing would be detected sooner or later, I urge the citizens to work hand in hand with the authorities, when you see something, say something” he said
Also speaking, a legal practitioner, Khalid Okunade stressed the need for government to review drug laws and ensure that everybody specialists, individuals, cultivators and carrier, involved in drug-related offences are served with stiff penalties.
He also advocated for the establishment of additional rehabilitation centers and the hiring of competent staff to aid individuals struggling with addiction in these facilities.
In his view, it is crucial to stimulate the economy to generate job opportunities, particularly for teenagers and young adults who are more susceptible to addiction.
Furthermore, he urged celebrities to take the lead in the campaign against substance abuse.
Regarding the role of families, he emphasized, “Parents must educate their children about the perils of drug abuse. Charity begins at home, and parents should maintain a zero-tolerance policy for drug and alcohol use both within and outside the household. They should set a positive example and expose their children to programs, videos, and publications that discourage drug abuse.”
He stressed the importance of avoiding any exposure to content that promotes drug abuse, misuse, or addiction. Additionally, parents should acquaint themselves with their children’s friends and their family backgrounds to prevent them from falling into bad company.
“Community and religious groups have a significant role in preventing drug abuse due to their proximity to the community and their direct influence on their members,” he added. “They should educate and enlighten their members and followers about the hazards of drug abuse on both society and individuals.”
He suggested the formation of teams of professionals within these groups to counsel individuals suspected of engaging in drug abuse. Moreover, he recommended strengthening counseling units in churches and mosques by involving professionals to provide education and related programs that can benefit their members.