Methamphetamine has become a sensation among many of our youths and has been making waves recently. Popularized by the name “Mkpuru Mmiri” in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria, which translates to Seed of Water owing to its colourless nature, it also goes by the name Ice, Hype, Glass, Chalk, and a host of others, similar to Amphetamine, a drug used to treat Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder.
The drug increases the Dopamine level in the brain thus leading to both Long and Short term effects which climax at extreme weight loss, anxiety, addiction, intense itching, memory loss and a host of other undesired results. It is estimated that 75% of the users in our society are adversely affected and thus become a burden to their families and the communities as a whole.
Since the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency’s first discovery of a clandestine laboratory in Lagos in 2011, the Nigerian drug enforcement agency has since then matched the drug barons grit for grit in order to shut down the spread of this drug or ”Highness” as the street calls it.
Is there a remedy for addicts? Of course YES, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and motivational incentives are a few of the numerous treatments in use, even though research continues towards developing medicines and other new treatments for methamphetamine. People can recover from methamphetamine addiction if they are ready to deal with the series of problems that come along with its use.
In conclusion, the success or failure of the fight against the abuse of this drug is dependent on many factors, individuals or the independence of the patient. For some, total abstinence while for some others, slow reduction in dosage accompanied by supportive psychotherapy is preferable.
It’s imperative for the community, traditional and religious leaders to join the renewed war against drug abuse by the Buba Marwa led new NDLEA by providing information that will lead to the unravelling of clandestine laboratories producing this illicit drug and others in its category.
I will leave you with the saying “what goes up must definitely come down”, so let’s all, as Nigerians, join hands to fight this scourge to save our youths and future from the path of destruction.
* Valentine Udechukwu, a youth activist and anti-drug abuse crusader writes from Segemu, Kano state