An Assessment Of The Broadcast Media Campaign Against Drugs Abuse In Nigeria
Trafficking and use of illicit drugs have become a deadly plague unleashing social and health hazards on the human race. The problem is more prevalent in the developing nations, while Nigeria is one of the most affected African countries. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has acknowledged this fact. Despite efforts by the Nigerian anti-drug abuse agencies, the rate of drug-related crimes in the country seems to persist. This paper, after presenting some statistics on the prevalence of drug abuse in Nigeria, suggests that the nation’s broadcasting media should be more aggressively involved in fighting the abuse of drugs in the country. With the Agenda-Setting theory as the theoretical framework, the paper discusses different social change strategies that the Nigerian mass media could adopt to fight drug-related vices. However, the researchers recommend that these media campaigns should be effectively complemented with other communication approaches.
1.1 Background of the Study
The Broadcast media holds substantial promise as a tool for reaching and persuading people to adopt new and healthier lifestyles. This has long been recognized by those interested in prevention of drug abuse and in other unhealthy behaviours. Drug abuse is a term used commonly when prescription medication with sedative, anxiolytic, analgesic, or stimulant properties are used for mood alteration or intoxication ignoring the fact that overdose of such medicines have serious adverse effects. The use of broadcast media campaigns as a drug abuse and control prevention intervention is relatively strategic and a right step in the light direction. Media invention is common, but it is not without controversy.
The use of broadcast media campaigns to reduce health problems in society gained momentum in the 1970s, with an initial focus on improving cardiovascular health. The positive results obtained by the first campaigns led to their further use in areas as diverse heart disease, cancer HIV/AIDS prevention, family planning and domestic violence. From the 1970s on, media campaigns were increasingly used in the prevention of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug use (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, 2013).
Every government, no matter its policy recognizes role of the media in combating drug abuse, undoubtedly, the media makes a greater contribution towards societal improvements, so with this in mind and the features and types already mentioned above, it can rightly be said that the media is the hub that holds the wheel of society together and it has a role to play in combating the various scourge that afflicts man today and one of such problem that has threatened the existence of man is drug abuse (Atkin, 2009).
Nigeria has many serious problems, which have very serious health, social and economic implications on the society. According to Anekwe (2014,p.32), a higher percentage of our youths within the age bracket of eighteen (18) and youth between the age of twenty five (25) and twenty eight years (28) have tried one drug or the other. A high percentage of those admitted of mental related problem also come from the same group. Thus the drug epidemic is gradually eroding the manpower base and the future of Nigeria.
Drug abuse is not just about taking drugs with the medical doctors prescription but also about the students who cannot read without taking unsweetened coffee, kola-nut or pills. It is also about filter lover who turns to the use of drugs for sexual enhancing performance. The business executive who must smoke to be able to work, the retrenched worker who floods his veins with extraneous substances to forget his sorrows and adventures, who tries to get high because others are doing it. Thus drug abuse is not just about misusing of drugs but the use of any chemical substances that has an effect on the body and they include, India hemp, cannabis and heroine cocaine, from the hemp plant, (Anekwe, 2014).
In the past and in the present, there have been advertisement, campaigns, announcement, and a public outcry against certain hard drugs, their effects and dangers through different broadcast media like television, radio, with such a slogan as “say no to drugs, drugs kill,” a drug free child is the pride of the parents,” “lend a hand in ridding Nigeria of hard drugs”, will you try anything?. You may never get off the hook” “avoid drug trafficking. You may end up behind bars” and so many others. The above slogans and many similar ones are some examples of the campaign against drug and drug trafficking both from government and private agencies to help agencies to preserve life rather than to destroy it (Aliu, 2014).
According to Romer (2004, p.1073) the broadcast media communication campaigns to alter risky behavior are seen increasingly as a critical adjunct to school-based programs and community-wide interventions”. To what extent is this widespread faith in the power of the media justified? Although the early history of broadcast-media campaigns, particularly those involving health, was largely one of failure, the promise of reaching large audiences has led to continued efforts, a sharpening of design methodologies, and more realistic campaign expectations. These more sophisticated efforts, combined with more powerful evaluation methodologies, provide evidence that media health campaigns can be effective in changing beliefs, attitudes, intentions, and even behaviors, when properly designed (Rogers, 2007).
More rigorous techniques of formative, process, and summative evaluation, coupled with more powerful statistical tools, have detected a variety of campaign effects. Such research generally shows that coupling media with other kinds of interventions is more successful than either media or non media efforts alone. There is growing evidence, however, that, when used correctly, broadcast media alone can have significant positive impacts on health-related attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors (Flora, 2009).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The danger of drug abuse has been defined as “a state of periodic or chronic intoxication, detrimental to the individual and society, of a drug.” The major indication of drug addition is the irresistible desire to take drugs by any means. Physical dependence manifests itself when drug intake is decreased or stopped resulting in withdrawal syndrome, which leads to a very distressing experience. Psychological dependence is experienced when an abuser relies on a drug to produced feeling of well being. It has become unprecedented problem in Nigeria that the number of youth incarcerated in various prisons across the country has increase dramatically over the last few decades. As a matter of fact, majority of these youths have been arrested for drug offences, and/or have a drug abuse problem. The problem necessitating this study is therefore: What is role of the broadcast media in campaigning against drug abuse in Nigeria.
1.3 Objective of the Study
In the research statement, I highlighted some of the problems which called for the research. The objectives of this study thus include:
- To find out if drug abuse has increased crime rate in Calabar Municipality.
- To investigate how far the mass media has gone in informing and educating the society about serious issues in Calabar Municipality.
- To evaluate its assessment in the role it has played in the campaign against drug abuse in Calabar Municipality.
- To find out the impressions people have about drug abuse in Calabar Municipality.
1.4 Research Questions
My research questions focuses on the mass media and the campaign against drug abuse in Calabar Municipality and also on the impressions people have about drug abuses in Calabar Municipality. The questions are:
- How far have the mass media gone in the campaign against drug abuse in Calabar Municipality?
- To what extent have the mass media gone in informing, and educating the people against drug abuse?
- What rate is drug abuse getting to in Calabar Municipality?
- Has drug abuse increased crime rate in Calabar Municipality
- Has drug abuse increased crime rate in Calabar Municipality ?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The significance of this study cannot be over-emphasized. Drug abuse has been in the media for a very long time and much has been written and government is worried about it. Large amount of money are expended to rehabilitate victims of drug abuse. This research is done in order to alert the society about drug abuse and the impact it has to the society. And also to engage the media to be faithful allies to reap the society off this problem.
This is because a country with healthy citizens will have a good work force which in turn boosts the economy of that country. This study will also show the people the work and part the mass media is playing to combat this problem.
1.6 Delimitations of the Study
This study is delimited to the mass media campaign against drug abuse on the citizens in Calabar municipality. With this, all responses to the study will be aimed at how drugs are easily abused by the people in this area of Cross River State.
1.7 Definition of Terms
This means series of planned activities with a particular social, commercial or political aim.
This means the means of communicating with large numbers of people.
A substance used as a medicine or in a medicine.
This means a wrong or excessive use of something.
A place in cross river state
This means avenues by which the mass media is carrying out its role in the fight against drug abuse e.g. through seminars, workshops or programmes.
This means the television, radio, newspapers and magazines.
This means those substance like alcohol, cocaine, heroin that stimulates the nervous system and is addictive .
This means using those drugs like cocaine, alcohol or heroin excessively.
A place in cross river state
Summary and Recommendations for Further Study
From this research, it can be seen that the people believe that the mass media perform their functions of educating, informing and entertaining the masses effectively. The mass media is a powerful means of communication. It provides education for its numerous audience. This includes political and cultural education, health and technological education. The mass media is used in disseminating vital information to the public in general.
Through news broadcast, vital information disseminated for the interest of the public.
It was also seen that drug abuse is a serious matter in the country because many people including children are involved in this act. According to the Whitney Young Information Resources Centre, almost all the states in Nigeria are found abusing drugs.
Drug abuse has now reached an alarming proportion within the society. Report shows that about seventy percent of patients attending Neuro-psychiatric hospitals today in Cross River State are both Calabar South and Calabar Municipality. Also, 21.3 percent of those classified and admitted in psychiatric hospitals in nearby states following the use of marijuana were Northern Cross Riverians.
Reports also showed that there has been a sporadic increase in the rate of drug abuse among tax force on streets and students in Post primary Schools and consequently, school indiscipline (such as lateness to school, skipping classes, failure to complete assignments, armed robbery, burglary, high rate of road and fire accidents, juvenile delinquency and other societal ills. These problems have aroused great attention to so many well meaning Nigerians including students all making efforts to study and analyze factors and problems associated with drug abuse and at the end it could be said that the mass media heightens the campaign against drugs abuse in Calabar Municipality
5.3 Recommendations for Further Study
The mass media should increase its efforts in the campaign against drug abuse. There should be more educational programmes shown on the television or broadcast on the radio to inform people more on drug abuse. There should be articles written extensively about drug abuse in our newspapers and magazines. Adverts about drug abuse should be shown on the television or put on bill boards on the roads.
The Ministry of Health, the National Agency for Food Drug administration and control and the National drug Law Enforcement Agency should also join hands in the fight against drug abuse in the country.
The federal government should also give these agencies and the mass media their full support in whatever campaign they intend carrying out. There should be more seminars and workshops and films concerning this issue of drug abuse in Nigeria.
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