Schooling Amid Drugs Apocalypse By Emmanuel Onwubiko

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I sat back in a beautiful coffee bar surrounded by lush greenery and a vast uncultivated field, located somewhere at the Central Business district of Abuja one morning last week, and I actually planned to just sip my glass of coffee and then to disappear to my place of work in Garki II.

It was already past midweek, and I knew I had so much on the table to attend to before the weekend arrived.

But my plan to leave the coffee shop as quickly as I had settled down on my desk changed, and it wasn’t surreptitiously but for a reason so magnificent. It was actually the arrival of a lady I have known for over a decade on the social media platform of Facebook that dramatically changed my scheduled quick exit from the coffee shop. Moreover, it has been my new tradition to leave the coffee shop with a speed of lightening particularly since the subsidy on petroleum was withdrawn and prices of the diverse genres of coffee drinks available on offer automatically escalated.

Besides the new high cost of the coffee products at that prestigious coffee outlet, I had to stay back to have a physical chat with my friend because since we became social media friends, that was our first physical meeting.

As we were exchanging pleasantries, the lady then said she was actually meant to discuss a topic that should interest us in our organisation, being that we promote the respect for the human rights of all. She also acknowledged reading many news articles on the enlightenment engagements we undertook not too far ago for the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency to sensitise the young children in schools around the South East of Nigeria about the menace and dangers to their lives posed by addiction to hard drugs and illicit substances. She was full of commendations for the NDLEA for partnering with credible non-profit groups to carry out sensitisation initiatives to benefit young Nigerians.

As I obliged her request, she then opened up to me that she noticed that around her area in Lagos that school kids abuse hard drugs, with reckless abandon. She actually came with her last born, a girl in her early twenties who is in fourth year in a tertiary institution in Lagos owned by the federal government.

She said her daughter has always narrated to her how so pervasive the abuse of hard drugs has become on her campus.

She then said that even her son who is in a University in Canada, had also reported to her that many students in his school are in the treacherous habit of drug abuse. The boy told his Mother that recently  his schoolmate was murdered by a student who was high on hard drugs. She said she often spoke with her son in Canada and that she kept on warning him to be of good behaviour and not associate with bad gangs of boys or girls in school who indulge in the habit of doing drugs.

We were in the middle of our discussion, when a story broke online about a gun fight in a secondary school in the Life Camp area near the official residence of the minister of the FCT. It will take a driver less than ten minutes to get to Life Camp from Maitama where we were at that time. So you can see how close it is also to the central business district of the FCT.

This emerging story at that time stated that a report  reaching them, the online outlet, says three students have been shot at Life Camp Government Secondary School in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory. The students were reportedly shot by some boys who came to the school with guns.

The rest of the report in that prominent online newspaper goes as follows: “A highly placed source who disclosed this to our correspondent said the incident happened on Thursday within the school premises. The incident occurred 500 meters away from the residence of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike.

Speaking, the source said gun violence in the school is becoming a yearly routine. He said: “Bad boys came to school with guns to fight, three students were shot and police came late. I don’t know if you can raise awareness about this issue, this shouldn’t be happening in the heart of Abuja by small children and nobody is doing or saying anything. It seems to be a trend that every year something deadly must happen in that school. Blood everywhere, parents crying like babies.

“Life Camp Government Secondary School is directly opposite Life Camp Police Station and about 500 metres from the residence of the FCT Minister. This is a repeat of what happened yesterday. It happens regularly.”

The spokesperson of the FCT Police Command, Josephine Adeh, confirmed the incident when contacted by the online medium. “I can confirm that there was an incident there and the Commissioner of Police has ordered an investigation,” Adeh said.

As I earlier disclosed, our organisation has on many occasions partnered with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency to enlighten students of public schools, especially in the unreached communities, about the dangers of addiction to hard drugs. Some of the hard drugs that are commonly abused will be listed in the next paragraph.

CANNABIS: Also known by other street names as Mary Jane, kush, pot, Marijuana, Eja, blaze, ganja. The psychoactive component of Cannabis are tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC – is thought to have evolved as a botanical self-defence chemical, and is present in a subset of the hemp family of plants. Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug and is probably the most easily accessible in the world, so concludes a respectable expert in a recent publication which I found useful for citation in this commentary.

ON THE EFFECTS OF CANNABIS: It is indicated that some of the common side effects of cannabis include:

An altered state of consciousness. The user may feel “high”, very happy, euphoric, relaxed, sociable and uninhibited.

Distorted perceptions of time and space. The user may feel more sensitive to things around them, and may also experience a more vivid sense of taste, sight, smell, and hearing and  increased pulse and heart rate, bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils and often increased appetite.

Besides, other side effects are impaired coordination and concentration, making activities such as driving a car or operating machinery difficult and dangerous; Negative experiences, such as anxiousness, panic, self-consciousness and paranoid thoughts.

Scholars say people who use large quantities of cannabis may become sedated or disoriented and may experience toxic psychosis – not knowing who they are, where they are, or what time it is. High doses may also cause fluctuating emotions, fragmentary thoughts, paranoia, panic attacks, hallucinations and feelings of unreality.

Also, the effects of cannabis are felt within minutes, reach their peak in 10 to 30 minutes, and may linger for two or three hours. THC is highly lipid soluble and can be stored in fat cells potentially for several months. The stored THC is released very slowly, and unevenly, back into the bloodstream and red eyes to mention a few.

Another easily abused hard drug is known as CRACK. As opposed to powder, crack is known as a free base form of cocaine that can be smoked. It offers a short but intense high to smokers. It comes in solid blocks or crystals varying in colour from yellow to pale rose or white. Crack is heated and smoked.

It is so named, says an expert,  because it makes a cracking or popping sound when heated. Crack is riskier and more potent than regular powder cocaine.

THE EFFECTS OF CRACK: These include: Loss of appetite, Increased heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature; Contracted blood vessels; Increased rate of breathing; Dilated pupils; Disturbed sleep patterns; Nausea, Hyperstimulation; bizarre, erratic, sometimes violent behaviour; Hallucinations, hyperexcitability, irritability;

Tactile hallucination that creates the illusion of bugs burrowing under the skin

Intense euphoria; Anxiety and paranoia; Depression; Intense drug craving

Panic and psychosis; Convulsions, seizures and sudden death from high doses (even one time).

Eagleonline

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