an assessment of the broadcast media campaign against drugs abuse in nigeria



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.

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