By Sunday Akin Olukoju
As the world drifts away from sanity like a lost ship in the open seas, leaders that should make enduring moral duty their priority have become dealers abetting killers.
We live in a world where immediate personal gains trump long-lasting corporate benefits. Just as individuals have the freedom to make personal decisions about what they will consume, leaders of nation-states make decisions that will help financial bottom-line, even if it has the tendency to create a morally bankrupt society.
In the course of protecting the future of unborn generations, the Canadian government placed some drugs under strict control, and declared them illegal, due largely to their deadly effects on both the mental and the physical health of consumers.
Some of these drugs include magic mushrooms, ketamine, methamphetamine, ecstasy (MDMA), LSD (acid), salvia, cocaine and crack, GHB, heroin, bath salts, PCP, and fentanyl. Efforts have been expended in unpacking the cost to human life and the economy.
Yet, every single day, addicts are made, public policies are created, billions of dollars are lost on fighting the massive effects of drug addiction, and salvageable human lives are wasted. Despite all the efforts, new drugs are created, circulated, consumed, and concealed.
Some walked into drug addiction with their two eyes wide open.
Some were deceived or misled into it.
Some saw it as a refuge to numb their pains.
Some others profit from the misfortune of addicts, since we live in a world of bottom-line where the love of money rules!
Hence, there is an urgent need to start asking some pertinent questions: How did we get here?
Who could be behind hard drugs’ manufacturing and supplies?
How sophisticated is the supply chain?
How come no one is able to quickly detect and trace the movement of cash within the hard drug economy?
Could this be an agenda to wipe out human race, or is this just about wealth acquisition?
In a world where we keep lowering the bar under the guise of freedom, should we expect a law that will legitimize the use of hard drugs any time soon?
And if that happens, what should we expect to see?
What kind of future do we intend to leave for those coming behind?
How would those in leadership some two hundred years ago feel if they were to be here today?
There are so many questions begging for answers today. But first, we should start with one of the most important questions – what are the known effects of drug use today?
It is believed that alcohol, despite the easy access it enjoys, is one of the deadliest, resulting “in 5.2 million accidental injuries and 3 million deaths each year, representing 5.3% of all deaths”.
The World Health Organization estimated that one out of every four deaths is caused by drugs and alcohol. Drugs are known to affect learning ability negatively, leaving the addict confused, tired, disinterested, and clueless.
It affects human judgment, leading to wrong and terrible decisions that have accompanying and consequential devastating effects. It increases the level of stress and leads to panic attacks. It could result in memory loss and skew behavioral pattern.
Drug use leads many into the world of terminal infections as a result of unsafe practices when under the influence. In fact, WHO confirms that there is a connection “between harmful drinking and incidence of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS”; in addition to causing “5.1 % of the global burden of disease and injury”.
The World Health Organization also confirmed that “alcohol consumption causes death and disability relatively early in life”, particularly within “the age group 20–39 years”, resulting in “approximately 13.5 % of the total deaths”.
Excessive alcohol consumption leads to the use of hard drugs, and subsequently, abuse. The WHO also found that “the harmful use of alcohol is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions”.
Drug use will lead to financial woes, abject poverty, bankruptcy, and divorces. In some cases, it could be a pathway to the dark world of crime and cultism.
Sadly, WHO shared the scary fact that “275 million people are estimated to have used an illicit drug at least once in 2016”.
According to the World Drug Report 2018, “some 31 million of people who use drugs suffer from drug use disorders” while “estimations suggest that globally, 13.8 million young people aged 15-16 years used cannabis in the past year, equivalent to a rate of 5.6 per cent”; leaving “roughly 450,000 people” dead “as a result of drug use in 2015”.
Overdoses led to 167,750 deaths. The World Health Organization also recorded that “opioids continued to cause the most harm, accounting for 76 per cent of deaths where drug use disorders were implicated”; while the number of people who inject drugs (PWID) stands at about “10.6 million worldwide in 2016”.
This group of people face “the greatest health risks”, with “more than half of them living with hepatitis C, and one in eight living with HIV”. The United States of America tops the global seizure of hard drugs (24%) followed by Mexico (15%), while China came third (13%). Saudi Arabia came fourth (8%) and Jordan followed (6%).
The statistics may not necessarily determine the level of usage, but the proficiency and professionalism of those mandated to track and seize such illicit products.
This development raises some eye-opening questions: Why is drug flowing into open and closed societies? Could this be driven by the forces of demand and supply?
Are all consumers of hard drugs addicts or do we have recreational users of these highly dangerous drugs in those countries?
If there are recreational users, what kind of benefits do they derive from it? Can recreational users ever stop if they chose to?
Would they ever know when they are slipping away from mere recreational users into the addict stage?
How do suppliers locate users?
There are so many questions begging for answers. And we may never know all the answers.
But we know few facts. We know that most, if not all users of hard drugs, behave abnormally and irrationally. We know that most people who commit violent crimes do so after injecting hard drugs. We know that hard drugs are prohibited because of the known despicable side effects.
We know that many have perished as a result of using hard drugs. We know that some people live off the production and sale of hard drugs. We know that some hard drug users end up becoming homeless.
We know that many hard drug users abuse their spouse and family members. We know that many hard drug users are forced by the addiction to rob, and in some cases, kill – in order to feed the addiction.
Some addicts are forced into prostitution. Hard drugs, once consumed, goes into the human anatomy to become a metaphorical blood-sucking, blood-letting, and blood-wasting bloody demon. It turns its victims into a wreck. It drags its victims in the mud.
It strips its victims naked. Yes, hard drug use drives addict insane. It steals the sanity of its victims. It drives a wedge and alienates its victims. And it makes a punishing public spectacle of its victims.
Unfortunately, these victims of drug use will continue to lose lovely hugs, get demeaning shrugs, denied a cozy snug, be translated into a lazy slug, and be like an imprisoned bug covered by a mugging mug or junky jug, or could be like a pitiable ant trapped under the rubbishing rug, and eventually becoming a rampaging thug in a bedbug-infested club, living a miserable life in a pathetic pub where a good life will never sprout or bud!
(❚ Dr. Sunday Akin Olukoju is the Director of Distance Education of Providence Theological Seminary, a community newspaper correspondent, and the president of a community organization)