ABSTRACT: The research examined the role of print media in creating awareness against drug abuse with a specific focus on the Punch newspaper. The continuous abuse of drugs has led to a situation of drug addiction and various harmful effects of drugs on individuals and society at a large. The study was anchored on Social Responsibility Theory and Agenda Setting Theory. A survey research method was adopted coupled with questionnaire that was administered to respondents within Heartland and Hot FM in Owerri. One hundred (100) respondents were sampled while 90 copies of the questionnaire were returned. The data collected were analysed using the frequency and percentage method. Findings show that both the radio stations expose their audience to various anti-drug abuses in the form of programmes, news and announcements. It is recommended that more anti-drug abuse programmes should be promoted especially now that youth are becoming victims of drug abuse.



1.1     Background to the Study

          Mass media have been a major agent of socialization and tool for social change especially now that people depend on messages from mass media. The potential power of broadcast media helps solve social problems. Television and radio advertising can entice people to buy a wide range of products and services that influence our ideas, values and behaviour.

          According to conventional wisdom, it could be possible to use broadcast media to get people to act on behalf of their own health and well-being or to do the right things. Based on this assumption, since World War II, the federal, state and local governments, private foundations and other non-governmental organizations have sponsored hundreds of public service campaigns to promote social rather than commercial “goods” (DeJong and Winsten, 2000).

          It is not surprising, then, that prevention advocates would look to the mass media as an important aid in addressing the problem of high-risk drinking in society. Some advocates have pushed for reform or other restrictions on alcohol advertising. Others have sought to influence entertainment producers to end the glorification of high-risk drinking in newspapers, magazines, television and in the movies (Montgomery, 2009). More recently, prevention advocates have produced a small number of media campaigns designed to change students and youth knowledge, attitudes and behaviour.

          Most media campaigns focused on college students drinking which have been campus-based, using a mix of posters, flyers, electronic mail messages and college newspaper advertisements. More recently, a few regional, state and national media campaigns have begun to address this issue as well.

          The research, therefore, examined the role of print media in creating awareness against drug abuse with a specific focus on Punch newspaper.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

          The continuous abuse of these drugs has led to a situation of drug addiction and the addict developing bondage to the drug.

          The effects of drug abuse are detrimental not only to the individual but to society as a whole. Yet this problem is on the increase especially among those in higher institutions of learning. Which is a serious threat to our national sanctity.

          How well can print media as a vehicle for information dissemination be relied upon to perform its role in society, to join hands in the battle against drug abuse?  

          How can the power of the mass media be used effectively to reduce high-risk drinking among people? To explore that question, this research begins by reviewing three types of mass media campaigns focused on drinking: information, social norms marketing, and advocacy. The research examined the role of print media in creating awareness against drug abuse with a specific focus on the Punch newspaper

1.3     Objectives of the Study

  1. To examine whether newspapers educate and enlighten the general public on drug abuse?
  2. To know if newspapers awareness campaigns on drug abuse have reduced the unlawful use of drugs in our society?
  3. To know if there is a problem facing the mass media in creating awareness on drug abuse?
  4. To know if newspapers contribute to drug abuse through advertisement and alcohol promo?
  5. To examine if print media present adequate information on the effect of drug abuse on the people in society?

 1.4     Research Questions

  1. Does Punch newspaper educate and enlighten the general public on drug abuse?
  2. Has Punch newspaper awareness campaigns on drug abuse reduced the unlawful use of drugs in Lagos and its environs?
  3. Does punch newspaper face any difficulty in creating awareness on drug abuse?
  4. Does Punch newspaper promote drug abuse through advertisement and alcohol promo?
  5. Do print media educate and enlighten the general public on the bad effects of drug abuse?

1.5     Significance of the Study

          This research will benefit different people, organizations, governments and other agencies especially the youth.

         This study has an important contribution to make in the education of drug abuse among our youths and society in general.

         Drug abuse has lots of effects on the health of the nation. There is a danger of the waste of Nigeria’s next generation if the best Nigerian youth is consumed by an addiction that will leave effects on the economy.

         The national security implication will be disastrous, hence the need for the media to intensity their role with various organizations like the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and National Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to combat this scourge in all its ramification.

          The government through the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) will benefit from the study to know the harmful effect of media drama showing lots of drinking and alcoholic programmes, advert and marking on print media to the society.

          Media practitioners and students of mass communication will equally benefit from the study to understand fully the dangers of drug advertisement.

1.6     Scope of the Study

          The study which examined print media in creating awareness against drug abuse was narrowed to the Punch newspaper headquarters in Lagos. Time, geographical locations, funds and other logistics, it was very difficult if not impossible to study all the newspapers in Nigeria.

1.7     Operational Definition of the Terms

Role: It is a function or contribution of print media in curbing abuse of drugs in society.

Newspaper: It is a periodical publication for the dissemination of information against drug abuse.

Creating Awareness: It means various efforts by the print media in curbing drug abuse in society.

Drug: It refers to different forms of tables in liquid and capsules or substances like cocaine, India-hemp e.t.c use for the treatment of illness and related body problems.  

Drug Abuse: Is means when people use drugs or substances either liquid, tablet, injection or inhale in amount or with methods neither approved nor supervised by medical professionals e. t. c  

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