The Devastating Effect of Methamphetamine on Nigerian Society: A Youth Perspective

The Devastating Effect of Methamphetamine on Nigerian Society: A Youth PerspectiveThe Devastating Effect of Methamphetamine on Nigerian Society: A Youth PerspectiveThe Devastating Effect of Methamphetamine on Nigerian Society: A Youth Perspective

The Devastating Effect of Methamphetamine on Nigerian Society: A Youth Perspective

Looking through the window while our cab cruised, everyone’s eyes caught the attention of this young man, about 6ft 2inches or 3inches, clad in a dirty white T-shirt and very tight boxer shorts, with dirt and sand smears around his body like one who had fallen on dirt.

He walked on the sideway of the Lekki-Epe expressway while the usual fleet of cars, held down by the regular tight traffic of the Lekki-Epe expressway, slowly glided through.

Nobody could have missed the sight of this handsome-looking young man walking like a vagrant by the sideway of this expressway.

He was so masculine looking and his attire, though unclean, revealed his very athletic physique.

My seatmate, a lady, just wondered how such a handsome young man could be walking like a destitute on the sidewalk of a very busy highway…

He could not have been destitute.

It was apparent he was hooked on a substance and it was no other than the devil’s drug, popularly known on the street as ‘ice’- Crystal Methamphetamine.

Similar to this are many other tales, here and there of the wails and woes of methamphetamine

Methamphetamine is a synthetic drug that stimulates the central nervous system, causing a rapid release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine leading to an intense surge of hyper-alertness, hyper-animated energy, and euphoria. It is commonly produced in closet laboratories using easily accessible and usually inexpensive chemicals, making it a cost-effective drug option for both producers and consumers. Methamphetamine comes in various forms, including crystalline powder, tablets, and colorful crystal chunks that resemble rock candy. Its street names include crystal, ice, crank, chalk, and glass.

Methamphetamine is a very potent stimulant and very highly addictive. Methamphetamine, as a hard drug, has been increasingly wreaking havoc on societies around the world. Unfortunately, Nigeria is not immune to its destructive effects, especially when it comes to the nation’s youth. Methamphetamine is commonly known in the streets of Nigeria as ice, and shall henceforth, in this article, be interchangeably referred to as ice The widespread and exponential increase in the use of ice among Nigerian youths is rapidly becoming a concerning issue, impacting both individuals and the broader society. The joyous embrace is even more alarming. The word ice, on its own, when mentioned on the streets, evokes an unusual yet instantaneous euphoria and craving in the hearts of men,

One of the dangerous aspects of ice, like many other highs, is the concept of “chasing the dragon.” The term, chasing the dragon originates in the ancient Orient and is associated with the use of psychoactive drugs. This concept refers to the elusive pursuit of a high equal to the user’s high when s/he first used the drug and this makes it very addictive as the user continues in this fleeting pursuit of continuously seeking a stronger high after the initial effects of the drug wear off. Ice users often find themselves trapped in a cycle of chasing that initial, intense rush, increasing the dose and frequency of their drug use, which significantly intensifies the negative toll on their health and well-being.

The effects of ice on the human body are manifold and devastating. Physically, the drug causes reduced appetite and extreme weight loss, leading to malnutrition and a weakened immune system. Furthermore, users experience elevated sex drive and seldom or often, engage in risky sexual behavior, which can contribute to the spread of sexually transmitted infections. Sleeplessness and insomnia are other common side effects, leading to chronic fatigue and an overall deterioration of physical health. In addition to the physical exaction, ice takes a heavy toll on the mental health and well-being of users. Prolonged use of the drug often leads to paranoia, anxiety, hallucinations, and in several cases, displays of violent behavior. The intense high and feelings of invincibility that meth provides make users feel they are self-sufficient, and they may neglect beneficial counsel, personal hygiene and have no regard for their overall appearance. This neglect more than often bears negative results.

Like many developing nations, Nigeria is already grappling with numerous social and economic challenges. The increasing popularity and even more blood-curling, joyous embrace of ice among Nigerian youth further compound these issues. The affordability and potency of ice have made it an attractive alternative to other drugs, such as crack cocaine. Ice provides an even stronger high than crack and is relatively cheaper, leading many crack users to switch to ice. This shift in drug preference has accelerated the spread of ice throughout Nigerian society.

While the exact origins of ice production and distribution in Nigeria remain largely unknown, rumors suggest that its introduction can be traced to an unnamed Mexican drug ring. The surreptitiously illicit production and effective distribution networks associated with ice have made it readily available in Nigerian communities, exacerbating its devastating impact.

Perhaps one of the most distressing consequences of ice use is its ability to keep users stuck in one place, both physically and mentally. The drug’s addictive nature makes individuals prioritize their next fix above all else, including personal growth and development. The daredevil feeling that ice provides gives users a false sense of self-worth and confidence, leading them to believe that they do not need to acquire new skills or improve their lives. This mentality perpetuates a cycle of lethargy and stagnation, hindering personal and societal progress.

The affordability and powerful grip of ice have increased petty crimes such as theft and burglaries. When users run out of funds to sustain their addiction, they resort to these crimes to acquire the necessary funds. This surge in criminal activity further burdens an already struggling Nigerian society.

The increased consumption of ice among Nigerian youths is draining the potential vitality of the nation’s labor force. With a growing number of young people falling victim to ice addiction, the workforce is becoming increasingly lethargic and unproductive. The long-term consequences of this trend are grave, as it hinders economic growth, stifles innovation, and limits opportunities for progress.

Addressing the devastating effect of ice on Nigerian society requires a multi-faceted approach. Tangible efforts to uncover its clandestine production and disrupt its illicit chain of distribution networks the government narcotics agency must be made. Applauding the NDLEA for their more consistent clampdowns on bases of ice production and distribution, more than this brute force is needed to curb this growing scourge. Classified information has it that much of the quantity of drugs apprehended by the narcotic agencies of governments worldwide are later redistributed into the streets- to what end and to what extent of the truth of this information, one, I cannot decipher. This is why it includes efforts like prioritizing comprehensive prevention strategies like drug education programs, investing in holistic drug abuse prevention initiatives, campaigns, and counseling to increase awareness, providing accessible addiction and rehabilitation treatment services, and the implementation of additional social and economic initiatives to provide alternative opportunities and support for vulnerable youth.

Addressing the issue of ice abuse in the Nigerian nation, especially among the youths is a herculean task that requires a coordinated effort from government agencies, healthcare professionals, educators, community leaders, and families. By taking proactive measures, Nigeria can protect its young population and create a healthier, more productive society for future generations.

In conclusion, the effects of ice on youths are devastating and far-reaching, particularly in a developing country like Nigeria. Ice abuse among young individuals has been shown to have detrimental consequences on their physical and mental health, academic performance, social relationships, and overall well-being. The use of ice among Nigerian youths can worsen existing social and economic challenges, hindering the country’s progress and development. The drug’s addictive nature and its ability to induce aggressive behavior can contribute to increased crime rates, including theft, violence, and gang activities. Furthermore, ice abuse can strain Nigeria’s healthcare system, as addiction-related medical issues require specialized treatment and resources. This can place an additional burden on an already overburdened and almost defunct healthcare infrastructure.

The future of Nigeria depends on the well-being and potential of its youth. By recognizing the devastating effects of ice and taking decisive action, Nigerian society can protect its young generation from falling prey to this destructive drug and unlock their full potential for a brighter future.


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