Restorative justice as a community response to drug/substance use: Why not adopt this policy option in Nigeria?
There exists observable shortcomings in the drug policies/laws and futility in the war on drugs. This is because, despite the efforts of drug policymakers in State and non-State agencies such as schools, religious bodies, and families to combat drug use and its ensuing problems using various strategies, the phenomenon is still on the increase in Nigeria. This has necessitated the introduction of restorative justice as a policy option/alternative that could successfully address the problem. The predictions of social bonds and re-integrative shaming theories supported the promise and roles of this community-based psycho-sociolegal framework. Its official use in both formal and informal settings has a significant end in view which is that drug offenders are made to mend fences with individuals and institutions affected by their conduct. Instead of being in the traditional criminal justice system, they are treated and corrected in the community where the offensive behaviour originated. The programme stands to create a practical pathway and framework for handling the changing patterns of substance abuse in the local communities and neighbourhoods. It is a strong driving force and construct for achieving the long sought for drugs-source-control and treatment plans, and a plausible, reliable and accurate scale-of-justice-balancing measure that can direct the path to effective drug policy in Nigeria.
Keywords: Community Response, Drug/Substance Use, Nigeria, Policy Option, Restorative Justice.