I was at a recent function organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Education as one of the guest speakers at a workshop for all guidance counsellors in the state. I was particularly amazed and bothered at the same time at the statistics given by one of the presenters, Dr Adedeji, the coordinator of CADAM (Christ Against Drug Abuse Ministry) on substance abuse among our youth believed to be our future leaders.
The age range with the highest prevalence was said to be 15-26 years, not just in Nigeria alone but around the globe. It therefore makes more meaning for the United Nations to declare 26 June of every year as world drugs (substance) day.
As at April 2018, Kano residents alone were reported to have consumed about 3 million bottles of codeine on a daily basis. Lets face it, if a trend like this continues, the future is really bleak for the youths, especially the millennials who are highly impressionable.
One major tool we need to adopt in tackling this menace is non-verbal intelligence because its approach is rather proactive than reactive, which perhaps is a serious challenge in our value system as a people. Nothing really gets done or attended to until there is some damage of some sort or a whistle is blown by the Western culture as was the scenario of the BBC codeine saga.
Unfortunately, that reactive way of tackling issues is not the best because the more exposed these youths are to substances, the greater the propensity to commit crime. If we must change the fruits, we must pay attention to the roots.
“Obedience is better than sacrifice,” they say. The fight against substance abuse among our people requires that all stakeholders have their hands on deck. The progression starts usually with an initial RESISTANCE, then TOLERANCE, then ACCEPTANCE, then SUBSTANCE is being taken by the individual. From substance use, it gets to substance misuse, abuse and later addiction. Addiction comes in because of some kind of frustration, leading to agitation, aggression, depression and, eventually, annihilation or self-destruction which manifests a lot of times as suicide.
The role that non-verbal intelligence plays as a mediator is that a person does not have to go through this cycle that eventually may lead to death. If non-verbal intelligence as a skillset is adequately deployed the moment red flags of probable substance abuse in an individual is detected, then the cycle can be broken and the situation salvaged. One of the cardinal tools in Non Verbal Intelligence is graphology, also known popularly as hand writing analysis.
Suicide and handwriting
Studies have shown that the second leading cause of death among young people globally is suicide. It is perhaps one of the most difficult eventuality to detect in anyone because people who really want to commit suicide aren’t likely going to tell anybody. So, relying on verbal communication here would not do the job effectively. As a matter of fact, the moment a person writes a suicide note, his or her mind is made up.
However, since nothing just happens, there are precursor traits to suicide attempts which most of the time present in a nonverbal channel – for example, the handwriting. Except you have someone skillful enough to understand such suicidal traits in a handwriting sample of a friend, colleague, family member or loved one, there is inevitably going to be an addition to the statistical figures on suicide nationally and by extension, globally.
(Continues next edition)