ALCOHOLISM AND DRUG ABUSE IN NIGERIA AND THE ROLE OF CHRISTIANITY IN CURBING THIS MENACE
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The consequences of drug abuse and alcoholism placed great burden on Nigerian society as it affected the economy, the health care system, the criminal justice system, and threatens job security, public safety, marital and family life. Alcoholism and the abuse of other drugs, both licit and illicit can affect all aspect of a person’s life. It can also affect the brain, damage emotional stability, finances, career, family and the entire community in which an alcoholic or drug abuser lives. This author has corrected the misconception by many Nigerians that drug abuse is only applicable to illicit drugs, by proving that licit drugs can also be abuse. This paper also considered the origin of alcoholism and drug abuse in Nigeria, the prohibition of alcoholism in Nigeria, the theories, types, signs and symptoms, the possible reasons for the involvement of Nigerians in the abuse of drugs and alcohol and the implication.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Drugs are commonly used by everybody whether young or old. Drugs are not only useful for human beings; they are also useful for animals for good health. Human beings give drugs to their animals when they discovered that they are not healthy. Drug is an effective substance in the life of any living thing to cure sickness and to make life healthy. It is true that drugs are used for beneficent therapeutic purposes, effective substance for good health, but they are being abused by people especially youths. They use it illegally and unlawfully, thus it becomes harmful to the body. The impact of drug abuse among Nigerian youths has been considered a moral decadent. Drug abuse has made the face of the Nigerian youths rough and brought shame to our society. The Nigerian youths are deliberately using drugs illegally, unlawfully and intentionally. Many of our youths ignorantly or knowingly depend on one drug or the other for their daily activities. According to the statistics provided by World Health Organization (WHO), drug including alcohol and tobacco, have caused a lot of road accidents and have claimed more lives than other sicknesses suffered by mankind. As International Drug Trafficking is gaining strength, the international cooperation against drug trafficking is steadily losing strength and lacking organization. The report from world narcotics has shown that confiscation level has fallen below 10 percent of the global circulation level of drug international mortality figures for drug abuse have tripled since 1988. In the United States, medical emergencies coming from cocaine taken rose by 1000 percent between 1976-1993, in the case of the heroine by 6 percent from 1988-1993 and by 155 percent in the case of cannabis. Cocaine addicts between the age of 12 and 17 increased by 166 percent from 1994-1995 in various countries. Drugs are being abused every day. In Nigeria, this issue of drug abuse has been a serious concern for the society. Youths have taken to drug abuse. In recent times, the rate at which youths abuse drugs have been so alarming and worrisome that much effort have been made to eradicate it. Alcohol has many usage and contrasting connotations. A glass of wine with a meal can symbolize Love, friendship, relaxation and enjoyment of a special occasion. It can represent romance, coming of age, success, beginnings and endings, good news and good company. At a Christian Eucharist or Jewish Passover, where wine is also shared, thanks are given to God for divine salvation from all that were enslaved, restricted and condemned. In drinking the wine, Christians participate with the first disciples in their Last Supper with Christ, and Jews participate with the ancient Hebrews in their exodus from enslavement in Egypt. In African tradition, wine is used to portray a relationship and communion between the living human and ancestors, deities and other supernatural entities. This is evidence in covenant establishment, oath taking, daily ritual of libation, burial and institution of shrines and altars. Also in marriage ceremonies, the usage of alcoholic wine is indispensible even against the vehement opposition of Pentecostal churches in Africa with Nigeria as typical example. Ekwe (2000) stated that apart from water and wind, wine is another integral and indispensible part of African life and living. The presence is felt in almost all the activities of African customs and traditions ranging from burials, rituals, marriages, oath takings, covenant establishments, meetings, hospitalities, evening relaxation to all forms of their daily activities.
Unfortunately, the sacredness and redemptiveness of these occasions contrast with the association of alcohol with drunken violence in our towns and cities, cirrhosis of the liver on our medical wards, debts in families, death on our roads and numbers of fights in families. It contrasts more especially with the enslavement, which is alcoholism or alcohol addiction. This contrasting nature of alcoholic drink is clearly revealed in different chapters and verses of the Hebrew Scripture, the Old Testament. Serious warnings were placed on the need to avoid addiction and lust towards alcoholic wine. At some instances, some people were strictly warned not to taste alcoholic wine or partake in meals that have connection with alcohol. For instance, Nazarites like Samson in Judges 13:7, Princes in Proverbs 31:4 and the Rechabite family in Jeremiah 35 were in this category. The book of Proverbs 23:29-35 pointed out and analyze the state, condition and ordeals of an alcoholic drinker and the problem of addiction even in this contemporary era.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Drug abuse in Nigeria is now a common phenomenon. Females are not exempt in this evil act. A recent research shows that 15-20 percent of drug addicts are females while males constitute about 50-55 percent, all comprising of traders, students, unskilled workers and the unemployed as shown by a retrospective study carried out by NDLEA (Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency). Drug abuse has contributed in the set back of the society. Inspite of this, many youths do still indulge in it. In many psychiatric hospitals in Nigeria, many of our youths are there undergoing drug treatment. The numbers of the youths that are insane are more than old people that are insane and youths insanity is mostly caused by drug abuse. Some youths are school drop-outs because they could not continue due to the rate of drug they have taken that resulted to their insanity.
- OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of the study is to examine alcoholism and drug abuse in Nigeria and the role of the Christianity in curbing this menace. But for the successful completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following objective:
- To ascertain the effect of drug abuse on the health of Nigerian
- To examine the effect of alcoholism among Nigeria youth
- To examine the relationship between drug addict and alcoholic
- To examine the role of the church in curbing alcoholism in the society
- RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses are formulated by the researcher hypotheses
Hypotheses was formulated by the researcher
H0: drug abuse has no significant effect on the health and mental well-being of Nigerian.
H1: drug abuse has a significant effect on the health and mental well-being of Nigerian
H0: the church does not play any significant role in curbing the menace of drug abuse and alcoholism in the society
H2: the church does play a significant role in curbing the menace of drug abuse and alcoholism in the society?
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the religious organizations; churches, mosque and other religious body to revisit the norms of their beliefs and help spreading awareness on the dangers of drug abuse and alcoholic on the health and well-being of the citizens.
The study will also be of great benefit to psychiatric and rehabilitation homes as the findings will help them educate their patient on the dangers of alcoholism and drugs to their mental well-being. The study will also be of importance to researcher who intends to carry out study in similar topic as the study will serve as a reference point. Finally the study will be of significance to academia, student, teachers, lecturers and the general public as the findings will also contribute to the pool of knowledge.
- SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers alcoholism and drug abuse in Nigeria and the role of the church in curbing this menace. But in the cause of the study, the researcher encounters some constraint which limited the scope of the study;
- a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.
- b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
- c) FINANCE: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a broad term for any drinking of alcohol that results in mental or physical health problems. It was previously divided into two types: alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence.
drug abuse, is a patterned use of a drug in which the user consumes the substance in amounts or with methods which are harmful to themselves or others, and is a form of substance-related disorder. Widely differing definitions of drug abuse are used in public health, medical and criminal justice contexts
Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, who serves as the focal point for the religion. It is the world’s largest religion, with over 2.4 billion followers, or 33% of the global population, known as Christians. Christians make up a majority of the population in 158 countries and territories.
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