Chapter 9: The game has changed in Nigeria: A criminological perspective of substance abuse among youths by Macpherson Uchenna Nnam



Substance abuse is not a price paid for the emergence of modern society. It is an ancient cultural and religious practice that cuts across virtually all human societies. One of the earliest recorded cases of substance abuse and its relationship with antisocial conducts can be found in the Holy Bible. Noah, a tiller of the soil, was the first to plant vine. He drank some of the wine, and while he was drunk, he lay uncovered in his tent (Genesis, 9: 20-21). The same source revealed that the two daughters of Lot got their father drunk and consequently slept with him; an act that resulted in their pregnancies (Genesis, 19: 33-36). From the criminological perspective. Noah and Lot committed public order offence/simple violation (i.e. drunkenness) while Lot’s children committed crimes of rape and incest taboo.

In the ancient Mesopotamia, Arab/Muslim warriors indulged in the use of ‘plant of joy’ (opium) during the ‘Crusade’ (one of the series of wars that was fought between Christians and Muslims in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries over the ownership and occupation of Palestine) to boost their morale and for sustenance and survival. The people of Mexico and South America chewed coca leaves and used ‘magic mushroom’ which contains intoxicating properties during religious ceremonies (Siegel, 2008 citing Pittman, 1974 & Inciardi, 1986).