On the second day of May 2018, Nigerians woke up to what seemed like cheering news: The Federal Government had banned the use and importation of CODEINE. I felt very ashamed that we waited for a documentary from an international media organisation to wake us up from our slumber. A slumber that has left us with years of social decay and metal destruction. We waited for them to realise that our streets and homes are littered with hard drugs. Something that has gone on for several years.

It’s the same way we woke up to the news of a Nigerian policeman who got an award for having not taken bribe. That also grieved my heart so much; I would have loved to know how many policemen were monitored to reach this conclusion. This is how bad things have become for us as a nation.

I have been a parenting and teens’ instructor since 2002 as well as a behavioural change practitioner since 2011. Within this space of time, I have been to numerous institutions of higher learning, secondary and primary schools across the country. I have interacted with parents, teachers, guardians and handlers of young people. These have exposed me to a whole lot.

One thing I know for sure is that, whatever was seen on that documentary is nothing when put side by side our reality. Our young ones do far more than Codeine. Like the name CODEIN, the code to end this menace is coded inside. We must treat our sick tree from the root and not from the leaves. We need to start doing an internal cleansing from the home before we can begin to see an end to this.

I dare say that the best this federal government's ban will achieve is, increase the price of CODEIN and add one more product to the increased list in the black market. Our young ones will go to any length to get whatever they want to hide their deep rooted pains. As our culture is in governance in Nigeria, we blow hot air on issues like this just to be seen as doing something. Nothing concrete will come out of this 'not-well-thought-out action. I have been involved in several intervention cases; one thing we do professionally is to seek why drug became an option. We have found out that they get involved with drugs for so many reasons. The dominant reason is confusion. When they get stuck in life and are not able to generate solutions, they cave in for the easy turn to hide their pains. Since nature abhors vacuum, their inactive lives get them into drugs; they feel active when they are high.

I have been working on finding a lasting solution to this and prostitution for several years till I got a breakthrough late last year. I must confess that we have only had good food, shelter and clothing providing parents in the last three decades. Unlike the effective PROACTIVE PARENTS we had before the late 70s, proactive parenting see beyond the usual and dominant educational disciplines: Engineering, Law, Accounting, Medicine, etc. Proactive parenting prepared children for what will be and not what was like we have today. Proactive parenting prepared children to fit into what was to come.

As I write, most parents do not know where we will be as a nation and people in the next ten years; their wards will graduate with an education that can only solve expired challenges. This is why we have so many applicants. We must learn to put new wine in new bottles.

Oluremi Lawal is a Parenting and Teens’ Instructor as well as Behavioural Change Practitioner.

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