Substance abuse and emerging habitus of criminality among youths in peri-urban spaces of Katsina state, Nigeria
Drug or substance misuse and abuse is a major problem globally. Nonetheless, its consequence and characteristics vary from community to community. Within rural communities of Katsina State, Nigeria, the range of illicit drugs available appears to be growing. More disturbing is the fact that drug use continues to exact a significant toll, with valuable human lives and productive years of many people (especially youth and young adults) being lost. Appallingly, reliable and comprehensive information on the drug situation in rural Katsina is not available. Using Pierre Bourdieu (2005) idea of habitus, this paper examined the surge in demand and supply of illicit drugs within rural Katsina, discussing complications that this has brought to social interactions and livelihood systems within rural communities of Katsina State, Nigeria. Evidence prevail to show that there is a general feeling of increase in drug use by youths and young adults within rural communities of Katsina State. Cough syrups (benelyn, diazaferm), cannabis and cigarettes are the commonly misused substances in semi-rural areas of Katsina. Substances such as heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and glue are hardly used though they are well known among youths. Likewise, criminal acts such as rape, reckless driving and armed robbery have become rampant in recent times. Life in rural communities is characterized by the additional transfer of personal and family burdens, risks and responsibilities to government institutions, contrary to life in postmodernity, where individuals were supposed to ‘chart the course of their lives’. Consequently, this situation has further scale back governments’ efforts in creating opportunities for employment, education, and health in the community. Hence, government and non-governmental agencies within the State should incorporate critical-life-skills acquisition and self-esteem building subjects into the almajiri and primary school curriculum.
Keywords: Habitus, opium, SAP, postmodernity, Katsina