Roles Of Print Media In Creating Awareness Against Drug Abuse
1.1 Background to the Study
Mass media have been a major agent of socialisation and tool for social change especially now that people depends on message from mass media. The potential power of the mass media help solve social problems. Television, Radio and Print Advertising can entice people to buy a wide range of products and services, newspaper messages and advertisement influence our ideas, values and behaviour.
According to conventional wisdom, it could be possible to use mass media to get people to act on behalf of their own health and well-being or to do right things. Based on this assumption, since World War II, the Federal, State and Local Government, private foundations and other non-governmental organizations have sponsored hundreds of public services campaigns to promote social rather than commercial “goods” (Delong & Winsten, 2000).
It is not surprising then that prevention advocates would look to the mass media as an important aid in addressing the problem of high-risk drinking in society. Some advocates have pushed for reform or other restrictions on alcohol advertising. Others have sought to influence entertainment producers to end the glorification of high-risk drinking in newspaper, magazine, television and in the movies (Montgomery, 2009). More recently, prevention advocates have produced a small number of media campaigns designed to change students and youth knowledge attitude and behaviour.
Most media campaign focused on college students drinking which have been campus based, using a mix of posters, flyers, electronic mail messages and college newspaper advertisement. More recently a few regional, state and national media campaigns have begin to address this issue as well.
However, the history of the human race has also been the history of drug abuse. In itself, the use of drugs does not constitute an evil. Drugs, properly administered, have been a medical blessing for example, herbs, roots, bark leaves and plants have been used to relieve pain and help control diseases. However, over the past few decades, the use of illegal drugs has spread at an unprecedented rate and has reached every part of the world. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report (2005), some 200 millions people, or 5 percent of the total worlds population aged 15-64 have used drugs at least once in the last 12 months this implied 15 million people more than the 2004 estimated. The report goes on to say that, no nation has been immune to the devastating effects of drug abuse. According to the World Drugs Report (2005), the use of illicit drugs has increased throughout the world in recent years.
The report further states that a major world trend is the increasing availability of many kinds of drugs to an over widening socio-economic spectrum of consumers. The report argues that the main problem of drugs at global level continue to be opiates (notably heroine) followed by cocaine for example, for most of Europe and Asia, opiates continued to be the main problem drugs, accounting for 62 percent of all treatment in 2003. Reports from a total of 95 countries indicated that drugs seizures increased four-fold in 2003, and more than half of these were from Cannabis. A report released by the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) in 2004 estimated that 3.3 to 4.1 percent of global population consumes drugs, but more worrisome is that according to the UNDCP executive director, those who are hooked are the younger generation.
Every country in the world, developed or developing incurs substantial costs as a result of damages caused by substance abuse (World Drug Report, 2005). The world health organization (WHO), estimates that 1.1 billion people, representing a third of the world population above the age of 15 years, use tobacco principally in the form of the cigarettes. of these smokers, 800 million, 700 million of them males, live in developing countries (WHO, 2004). The solution described above is true in developed countries that have been experimenting with such drugs for a long period. However, developing countries are not exempted from the dangers all countries, Nigeria inclusive, are vulnerable. It has been noted that Nigeria is one of the developing countries in Africa that has lately been experiencing rapid increase in production, distribution and consumption of multiple drugs of dependence (Acuda and Tambo, 1983; World Health Organization, 1995, Daily Nation, March 2, 2006).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The continuous abuse of these drugs has lead to a situation of drug addiction and the addict developing a bondage to the drug. The effects of drug abuse is detrimental not only to the individual but to the society as a whole. Yet this problem is on the increase especially among those in higher institution of learning, which is a serious threat to our national sanctity.
How well can mass media as a vehicle for information dissemination be relied upon to perform its role in the society, to join hand in the battle against drug abuse?
How can the power of the mass media be used effectively to reduce high-risk drinking among people? To explore that question, this research begins by reviewing three types of mass media campaigns focused on drinking; information, social norms marketing and advocacy.
These and many more questions is what the study is out to find answers to.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The overall purpose of this study is to find out the current trend of drug abuse among the undergraduate students in Nigeria and analyse the strategies used to address the problem, with the mass media site, STV in view. The specific objectives of the study are as follows;
- To examine the impact of mass media in creating awareness against drug abuse among Nigeria youth.
- To identify and evaluate strategies used among undergraduate to address drug abuse, their effectiveness and shortcomings.
- To examine whether STV educate and enlighten the general public in drug abuse.
- To know if mass media awareness on drug abuse has reduced the unlawful use of drug in society.
- To examine if STV present adequate information on effect of drug abuse to the people in society.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The research will benefit different people, especially youth. This study has important contribution to make in the education of drug abuse in the society.
This study will enable the society to see the danger in the excessive use of drugs in the society.
At the end of this research, the audience will know the effectiveness of the media in trying to eradicate the use of fake drugs in the country.
Finally, this study will help assess the impact of the mass media in creating awareness about drug abuse.
1.5 Research Question
The following are the research questions of the study;
- Has mass media awareness on drug abuse reduce the unlawful use of drug in the society?
- Do STV educate and enlighten the general public on the bad effect of drugs abuse?
- Do Mass media promote drug abuse through advertisement and alcohol promo?
- Is there any problem facing STV in creating awareness in drug abuse?
- What are effects of drug abuse in the society?
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study has been limited to Silver bird television (STV) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State Nigeria. The research focuses on the impact of mass media in creating awareness about drug abuse.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
Wide research of this nature cannot be carried out without some constrains, this constrains pose a lot of limitation to this work.
- Duration for the research work is relatively short
- Stress emanated form other academic activities is also another constrain.
- Financial constrain poses another challenges.
1.8 Definition of Terms
These are means of communication to a larger audience. These are represented by radio, television, newspaper and magazine.
It refers to various means of communication.
It means making it known to the public or popular.
Drug is a substance which may have medical intoxicating or enhancing performance or other effect in human body.
The effect or impression of one thing on another and also the power of making a strong immediate impression.
Drug abuse is a state of period or choice intoxication produce repeated consummation of a drug.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
5.1 Summary of the Research
The problem of drug abuse has become a universal one, as it has extended beyond adult and urban settlers to now include young female and even those who live in rural area. Also in our institution of higher learning, Alcohol, India Hemp, Marijuana and Tobacco seems to be most widely used and accessible drugs among our youths.
The findings also showed that smoking in particular has rendered a good number of our youths socially insane and the family as the primary agent of socialisation, has degenerated thereby exposing our youths as easy privy of drug abuse. A close relationship between the child and the parent at early age will not only expose the danger inherent in drug but it will help the children to avoid drug in it infinity.
Also, the media especially the mass media has enormous role to play in the struggle against drug abuse by not encouraging commercials that promote the sale of products like tobacco not considering the financial profit that may be incurred from such advertisement.
The following concessions have been drawn from the relevant major findings of the study.
Drug abuse has a bad effect on the health of the nation especially among our youths in institution of higher learning. The mass media as a vehicle of information has enormous task to help in combating of this scourge.
Drug abuse in all this ramifications has dented the image of the country. The war against drug abuse can only be won with their concerted effort and cooperation of various government agencies, individual/private organizations.
In view of the forgoing discussion, a few observations and recommendations could be made for consideration and implementation. This is necessary in view of the fact that more has to be done on drug abuse problem. The following recommendation were made by the researcher;
- I recommend that the mass media should intensify their public awareness campaign by organizing drama, symposium, lectures not only in the urban areas but also in our rural areas, this campaign should be made available because research as shown that Nigeria youths in both rural and urban area of different socio-economic background indulges in the use and abuse of dangerous and illicit drugs.
- I also recommend drug abuse education in schools and this should be pursued by providing factual information, this additional instruction should infuse drug education into existing school curriculum related to this is the establishment and encouraging of drug free club in our schools.
- Finally, the mass media being an effective instrument for mass mobilization should encourage the government to establish counselling Centers in Churches, Mosques, Markets, town halls recreation Centers, hospitals. This will provide the therapeutic environment that allows a two-way communication interaction to take place between counsellor and client.
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