Abstract: The purpose of this study was on assessment of the effectiveness of radio campaign against drug abuse in Akwa Ibom State. Research questions were formulated to guide the study. The researcher adopted a survey research design for the study. The population of the study consisted of all residents of Uyo metropolitan, Akwa Ibom State. The sample size for this study comprised of two hundred (220) respondents randomly selected using simple random sampling technique from the residents of Uyo metropolitan. The instrument for data collection was a structured questionnaire. Data collected were grouped into frequencies, computed and arranged in tables for easy reference. The researcher used percentage to analysis the data collected.
The findings revealed that effective radio campaign has a positive influence against drug abuse in Akwa Ibom State. Based on the findings of the study, recommendations were made among others that:- Radio campaign against drug abuse should intensify their public awareness campaign by organizing drama, symposium, lectures not only in the urban areas but also in our rural areas, this campaign should be made available because research as shown that Akwa Ibom State youths in both rural and urban area indulges in the use and abuse of dangerous and illicit drugs.
Assessment Of The Effectiveness Of Radio Campaign Against Drug Abuse In Akwa Ibom State
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The responsibility of the mass media in reporting health issues is premised on the fact that the media are important sources of information. Its role in health promotion for sustainable health development throughout the world remains vital (Kozel, William and Hatcher, 2006; Li, 2008). Without the mass media, it might be difficult for health promoters and stakeholders to communicate health information, monitor and co-ordinate health activities in various countries of the world (Ugwu, 2013). This is so because through the media, adequate health communication and campaigns have been used on issues of health such as drugs abuse, vaccines/immunizations, maternal health care, family planning programmes, healthy living practices, prevention practices, cure eradication of diseases, among others.
The above leaves one to conclude that health communication in the media is becoming an instrument for sustainable health development, as the information they share is providing knowledge to the people on ways of combating diseases.
Among the mass media that exist in the society, the radio is the most influential medium for raising awareness and health campaign support messages particularly in developing countries where no mass medium reaches more people. The radio is cheaper to use and it can reinforce the advice that health workers give and deliver information to families who have difficulties in accessing a health worker (Dentzer, 2009). This is why Thompson (2013) asserts that, “when it comes to media in Africa, radio is still king”.
Mayer (2008) observes that all the most reliable surveys agree that radio is still the dominant mass-medium in Africa, with the widest geographical reach and the highest audiences compared to television, newspapers and other Information Communication Technology (ICTs). According to Girard (2003), cited in African Farm Radio Research Initiative (AFRRI, 2008), more than ninety years after the world’s first station was founded, the radio is still the most pervasive, accessible, affordable, and flexible mass medium available. Radio plays the most significant role than any communication technology in the transfer of information in African countries because the spoken word on broadcast radio is the principal means of information transfer where literacy rates are low (AFRRI, 2008).
Drugs are meant to build not to destroy, to heal not to kill and to replenish not to drain. They are substances capable of bringing about a change in the biological function of an individual through its chemical actions, while modifying perceptions, cognition, mood, behaviour and general body functions (Balogun, 2006; and Okoye, as cited in Fareo, 2012).According to pharmacologists, a chemical substance is used in the treatment, cure, prevention or diagnosis of disease or used to enhance physical and mental well-being (Obiechina & Isiguzo, 2016).
Drug abuse is a global health and social problem with distinct conditions and problems that vary locally (Fareo, 2012). The use of psychoactive substances among adolescents and youths has become a subject of public concern worldwide due to the fact that it contributes potentially to deliberate or undeliberate harm/injury (Daane, 2003). Drug abuse, addictions and trafficking has a universal propaganda that transverse across socioeconomic, cultural, religious, and ethnic boundaries (Fareo, 2012). Despite the efforts of the Nigerian tiers of Government and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to stem to its tide in Nigeria, there has been a consistent spate in the number of cases especially among adolescents (10-25 years of age).
Experimentation with drugs during adolescence is common in Nigeria. At this age, they desire to explore many things due to several factors like: curiosity, peer pressure and to relieve stress. Using gateway drugs especially alcohol and tobacco due to early exposure increases the risk of using other hard drugs later. Some adolescents experiment and stop or continue to use occasionally without having negative complications. Others develop addiction that makes them move into more dangerous drugs and causing significant harm to themselves and possibly others: family and community (National Institute on Drug Abuse 2003).
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.
The functions of the mass media in the society include.
- Information:-This is the constant stream of information about event in the society. Among the positive consequence of this function is the guidance it gives to the individuals in his or her daily life.
- Interpretation:-This is the function of appropriately interpreting news and information in such as way as to avoid over sensitization and induce appropriate or necessary action. It includes prescribing what to do, how to do it and why it is necessary.
- Education:- The mass media help unify society and increases social cohesion by upholding teaching a broad base of common social norms values and collective experiences. The mass media do this transmission mainly through informal education (unconscious learning) and non- formal education (conscious attempt to impart knowledge outside the formal school system).
- Entertainment:-This is the mass media function that is geared towards providing some diversion and amusement, relaxation and respite.
The mass media is known as the watch dog of the society and with the information and education function, it will be known if the mass media has played roles in the campaign against drug abuse in Nigeria. This is because like the dry rot that eats away the wooden beams of a house, drugs can corrode the whole structure of society. For human society to function properly, it must have stable families, healthy workers, and trustworthy governments, honest polices and law abiding citizens. Drugs corrupt every one of these fundamental elements.
The home however is probably where drugs do the most damage. Parents who are distracted by their craving for drugs rarely provide their children with a stable home life. Many children who grow up in this environment take to the streets or even get involved in drugs themselves.
Assessment Of The Effectiveness Of Radio Campaign Against Drug Abuse In Akwa Ibom State
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Drug abuse among Akwa Ibom youth has been a scourge to the overall sustainable development of the nation. Substance abuse is a serious issue; a global and international issue particularly in developing countries like Nigeria. Drug abuse is also a major public health, social and individual problem and is seen as an aggravating factor for economic crises; hence, for Nigeria’s poverty status. While youth are supposed to be the major agent of change and development, some of them have been destroyed by drug abuse (rendering them unproductive).
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 setback 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, hence, the need of this study.