AN ASSESSMENT OF MASS MEDIA ROLE IN THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST DRUG ABUSE IN NIGERIA
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
There is no limit to the study of media and society. Media and society as a subject covers a wide range of issues. Communication has a lot to do with the individual. It effects and defects are so notable that they cannot be swept under the carpet. Media and society are interwoven and neither of them can exist without the other. But first of all, what is communication?
Fiske (1990) defines communication as “social interaction through message” Jaya- weera (1991) sees it as an interaction process through which persons or groups relate to each other and share information, experience and culture. Looking at the above definitions communication can be said to be the transferring or transmitting of ideas, attitudes and information from one person to another. Okunna (1999) throws more light on the above assertion when she says “to communicate basically means to share ideas information, opinions, feelings or experiences between people?
According to Okunna (1999) the mass media perform a number of functions, which benefit the individual as a member of a society. She goes on to say that these functions range from serious informational and educational functions to lighter functions like entertainment
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
Drug abuse has become rampant in our society and this has posed a problem because a society filled with drug addicts and drug dependents cannot move forward. A nation filled with people who misuse, abuse or are addicted to drugs will have a high rate of increase in crime, prostitution etc. it also makes way for drug traffic kicking in the society. It constitutes a major public health hazard and is a part of general and social disorganization we see around us that is, breeds comatose patients, and various melody cases that constitute the urban eyesore that dent the image of a nation. It contributes significantly to breakdown of law and order and establishment of various circles of abuses, deficiency, criminality and further abuse.
Drug abuse has also led to the diversion of scarce resources to cure addicts, and to rehabilitate them, building of psychiatric hospitals, breakdown of societal norms and values, leading to up heavily, anarchy and other vices in the society, posing more problem than to be solved.
Such problems call for in-depth research to help salvage the situation to avoid the set back it created for our society and this has to be done with the help of the mass media in order to inform and educate the people on what that effects of drug abuse can cause to the society, and to the people involved .
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The overall purpose of this study in on assessment of mass media role in the campaign against drug abuse in Nigeria”
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 media 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 mass media present adequate information on effect of drug abuse to the people in society.
1.4 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.
1.5 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 mass media 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 mass media 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 mass media in Nigeria. The research focuses on the assessment of mass media role in the campaign against drug abuse in Nigeria.
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
CAMPAIGN : This means series of planned activities with a particular social, commercial or political aim.
MASS MEDIA :This means the means of communicating with large numbers of people.
DRUG : A substance used as a medicine or in a medicine.
ABUSE: This means a wrong or excessive use of something
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