‘How peer pressure drove me to drug abuse’ — Substance Abuse SurvivorPeers are people who are part of the same social group, so the term “peer pressure” means the influence that peers can have on each other. When people are influenced by doing the things they are resistant to, it implies pressure.

The term “peer pressure” is used when people refer to behaviors, attitudes, and mannerisms that are not considered socially acceptable such as indulgence in drugs, alcohol, or other forms of vices.

Studies show that the highest levels of drug use were recorded among people aged between 25 to 39, with Cannabis being the most widely used drug. Sedatives, heroin, cocaine, and the non-medical use of prescription opioids were also noted.

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According to a report by Quartz Africa, drug use habits in Nigeria have devolved with young people increasingly resorting to potent mixtures of several drugs at the high risk of fatal overdoses.

A 21-year old dancer and student, Sandra Meme (original name withheld), recently took to Twitter to celebrate one year of freedom from hard drugs, whilst sharing her story of addiction and misery.

According to her, “I went from smoking socially to smoking and taking other hard drugs every day, I slipped into depression, my skin started breaking out but I continued till one day I overdosed and almost lost my life.” She had vowed to share her story with the world if she survived and got over addiction to illegal substances.

She became addicted because she had erroneously thought that substances would enhance her performance as a dancer and by the time she found out the devastating effects, she was far gone.

As a result, she passionately advocates for a life of authenticity and freedom. She encourages youths to stand out and resist all forms of negative pressure. In her words, “The main reason I shared my story in the first place was that I promised myself that if I was liberated from that period of drug and substance abuse in my life, I would use my voice to inspire any and everybody that can hear me”.

There’s no better time than now for young people to accept themselves, believe they are worthy, and refuse to conform to pressure in whatever form. Just like the new MTN Pulse campaign starring Joeboy, Ozo, and Nengi, the youth need to remain authentic and stand up for the right values.

In other words, #DoYou.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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