Nigerian celebrity and music star, Joseph Joeboy Akinfenwa, recently joined a host of notable personalities to lend his voice on the adverse effects of substance abuse during the MTN Anti-Substance Abuse Programme (ASAP).
The Bariga-bred artiste spoke on several issues relating to the reasons young Nigerians take solace in drugs and substance abuse. According to him, he noted that “most young people see drugs as a means to escape from their problems.” While this appears to be true, he explained that the relief obtained from the abuse of substances is only temporary as they will still need to address their diverse challenges.
Responding to the question of how he handles his friends and colleagues who do drugs, the ‘empawa `Africa artiste’ stated that condemning those already addicted to the intake of drugs is a wrong approach. Rather, he suggested that the act of drug abuse should be condemned and not the persons involved. His stance on how best to deal with the issue of drug addiction was highlighted when he said, “Condemning the people doing drugs is going to be a wrong approach because you are just going to make them defensive about their situation.”
Riding on the backdrop of proffering workable solutions to those already addicted, he noted that the best way to help young people out of their drug-related predicament is to extend love to them. He believes reaching out to them in love will achieve more impact as they would be more receptive to the message. In his words,“I think when you are trying to help people out of drug abuse, you have to help them in love. This will help reduce the pressure on them and also gradually get them withdrawn from substance abuse.”
Speaking on the coping mechanisms that could be adopted to deal with the urge of drug abuse, Joeboy admonished young people not to get distracted and also confide in trusted persons. “Getting your mind busy and being accountable to a person leads to a paradigm mental shift in a drug abuser. Sharing how he copes with his pressures, he said, “I work out and there are trusted people I speak to. This helps me with my anxiety issues and it strengthens my resolve to never resort to drugs.”
The event, a brainchild of MTN Foundation, is held annually in commemoration of World Drug Day and was themed “Share Facts on Drugs. Save Lives.”