How Can Nigerian Youths Overcome Drug Addiction?

by David Chiedozie
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drug addiction

Drug abuse is a major public health concern in Nigeria, affecting many youths. I have seen friends with promising futures get caught in the drug pandemic with its consequences suffered by the user, their children, and family.

A lot of factors contribute to the prevalence of drug abuse in Nigeria which include, lack of parental guidance, peer pressure, social media, unemployment and poverty. Youths find solace in hard drugs because they think it’s a way to eliminate their problems or feel good. Excessive intake of these hard drugs creates drug addiction, which makes them become almost useless to themselves and the society.

The underlying health effects of substance abuse doesn’t scare youths, they don’t believe there are side effects since they are so addicted. Donald Lynn Frost, a drug therapist, once said; “Drug take you to hell, disguised as heaven.” Drug will make you feel good but it has dire consequences. Nigerian youths have to say no to drugs so that they can be useful to themselves and the country.

Overview of Drug Addiction Among Youths in Nigeria

Drug addiction, also called substance use disorder, is described as a disease that affects the brain and behavior of a person, leading to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medicine. The current rate of drug addiction in Nigeria is worrisome. An estimated 40% of the youth population in Nigeria take one form of hard drug or the other. The drugs ranges from marijuana, colorado, codeine, syrups, cocaine, diazepam, and nicotine. Once you get addicted to these drugs, you may continue using this drug, not minding the harm they may cause.

The drug addiction epidemic is endemic among Nigerian youths and has become disheartening and worrisome. Drug abuse, including drug addiction and its trafficking, presents a universal problem that transverses socioeconomic, religious, cultural, and ethnic boundaries. The Nigerian government, via the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has, through policies, tried to stem the tide of drug addiction. Despite their best efforts, there has been a consistent rise in the number of cases, especially among young people between the ages of 10-25.

As children begin to hit adolescence, experimentation with drugs is quite common in Nigeria because, at that age, youths want to explore due to curiosity, peer pressure, and the need to relieve stress. People who use drugs may develop an addiction that makes them susceptible to other dangerous drugs and cause great harm to themselves.

Effects of Drug Addiction

  • Depression and withdrawal.
  • It affects one’s academics negatively. Youths addicted to drugs often disengage from school activities.
  • It causes death.
  • Altered brain chemistry.
  • Consuming hard drugs is illegal in Nigeria, so you spend a long time in a correctional facility.
  • It will have a toll on your finances.
  • A drug addict can have a damaged immune system, one can become susceptible to infections.
  • It causes liver failure.
  • It affects one’s relationship with people.

10 Tips for Overcoming Drug Addiction

There is a myth that addiction is inescapable, this not true. But, never trust anyone who promises you instant results. Overcoming drug addiction is a process that will take weeks, months, or even years. But regardless of how long it takes, it is possible to overcome drug addiction.

The following are some tips that you can practice to help you overcome drug addiction.

  1. Decide to quit

One of the first steps towards overcoming drug addiction is quitting. You must take charge of your life and be committed to your recovery. You must focus on creating the happy future you and your family deserve. Setting a meaningful quit date, such as your birthday, a special event, or an anniversary, is advisable.

Affirmations such as the following can be very helpful,

  • I am going to quit so I can spend time building my career.
  • I will quit my drug addiction and build a better relationship with my family.
  • I am going to quit my drug addiction and spend my money on things that make me happy.
  1. Compile a list of the changes you want to make

One of the biggest motivations to overcome your addiction is writing down your life without your drug addiction. This is a very simple list and is easy to achieve. The list could include the following;

  • Have more money to travel.
  • Spend more time with the family without arguing.
  • You can improve your self-esteem.
  • A dream job.
  • Feeling proud and confident.
  • Feel less tired.

When you feel very creative, you could create a brief story about how a perfect day is devoid of drugs.

  1. Build a support network for yourself

Overcoming drug addiction becomes easier if you have a lot of support. Surrounding yourself with friends and loved ones who can be with you during this tough period is important. In addition, you can join a support group to help you get through the tough times and celebrate your successes. 

  1. Exercise

Working out is good for the mind and body. When you exercise, endorphins will be released in your body to elevate your mood. These endorphins are naturally high which is similar to the one people release when they abuse substances, exercise will reintroduce healthier levels of endorphins to their body. Regular physical activity reduces stress levels, increases self-esteem, improves mood, and help reduce cravings for drugs.

  1. Distract yourself

As you try to overcome your addictions, devising alternative activities to distract yourself is important. Positive distractions are easy ways to help you make life changes. Focus on activities that make you happy, as it is easier to stick to your goal. Activities include exercise, starting a new hobby, cooking, joining a book club, or hanging out with friends.

Read Also: Top 6 Factors Influencing the Life of Nigerian Youths

  1. Stay away from places or people who trigger you

To help overcome your drug addictions, it is important to create a completely new routine to help support your lifestyle changes. It is okay to cut all ties with people who may be holding you back while seeking new places and experiences. An example is separating yourself from those encouraging you to be involved in any form of drug addiction. For someone trying to quit smoking marijuana, you must stay away from people who smoke it because it can trigger you.

  1. Manage stress in a healthy way

One common trigger for most people who become addicted to drugs is stress. It is impossible to escape stress altogether, but you can incorporate healthy stress relievers.

  • Yoga
  • Hanging out with friends
  • Do an exercise you enjoy
  • Keep a journal.
  • Listen to music.
  • Paint.
  1. Review your past attempts at quitting

In overcoming drug addiction, it is essential to look back at past attempts to quit your addiction if they exist. Look at what worked and didn’t work, and make the needed changes to achieve a positive outcome this time. 

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  1. Seek professional help

Recovering from drug addiction is a very tough process, and there is no shame in asking for professional help when you need it. Behavioral therapists and physicians have built structured programs over time, providing a safe and workable way to prevent relapses.

Read Also: Habits to Practice to Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle in Nigeria

  1. Volunteer

Another way you can overcome drug addiction is finding a worthy cause. You can volunteer in an activity that allows you to help others while helping yourselves. Volunteering provides a way of giving back to the community and can help you discover a renewed sense of purpose. It helps you build a healthy network of friends and a great feeling of contribution to society.


Drug addiction is a disease you can overcome. It may be the most difficult time of your life, but it can also be a way to develop a new lifestyle while leaving the old one behind. Take the step to overcome drug addiction today!

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About Author

Avatar of David Chiedozie
David Chiedozie
David Chiedozie Ndeokwelu is a graduate of Microbiology, who holds a Masters degree in public health. He is currently a medical student at the University of Ilorin and is passionate about fields of career, public health, entrepreneurship and career building.

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