Submerged in Poverty and the Never-Ending Cycle of Drug Addiction and Dependency:

Exposing the Causes and Effects of Youth Exploitation



Salamun alaiykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu


The problems of substance abuse and addiction are urgent and must be addressed, but it often appears that society prefers to treat the symptoms rather than the root causes. It is comparable to treating ringworm while ignoring the crippling effects of leprosy. Addiction and drug abuse are problems that must be confronted head-on, with a comprehension of their origins in the interaction of economic hardship, the allure of extravagant lifestyles, and pervasive greed. Together, these elements comprise a perilous trap that ensnares young victims and turns them into their own sorrow’s compatriots.


Those living in poverty are more likely to experience hopelessness and despair, which can motivate them to attempt to abandon their situation. In an attempt to escape destitution, vulnerable children may succumb to the allure of a luxurious and extravagant way of life. This quest, motivated by despair and the hope for a better life, attracts predators who prey on the vulnerable.


These adolescents are easy prey for perpetrators, who are themselves trapped in a vicious cycle of substance abuse and addiction. They sell their false aspirations for success by using the allure and illusion of wealth. The predator is seeking someone to commiserate with, and the two of them become criminal companions.


The consequences are catastrophic and will impact many individuals. The victims are once-promising, innocent individuals who are now bound by addiction. Their expectations were shattered, and their lives descended into chaos. In the meantime, the predators continue to fuel their addiction and capture more victims, thus perpetuating the cycle of destruction. Poverty, avarice, and hopelessness perpetuate the cycle by feeding off one another.


The only way out of this miserable pit is to confront the problems head-on. Education, employment, and opportunities for personal growth are essential to combating destitution. By providing people with the means to establish a better future for themselves, the allure of a drug-addled lifestyle can be diminished.


Also essential are drug education and prevention programmes that equip young people with the tools they need to avoid sliding into the hands of drug abusers. These programmes should encourage participants to value themselves, make intelligent decisions, and seek alternatives to substance abuse.


Rehabilitative and support programmes are equally essential in breaking the cycle of addiction. Rehabilitation and social readjustment can be aided by community-based efforts, counselling, and readily accessible treatment programmes. Eliminating prejudice against those who struggle with substance abuse is also essential, as it will encourage more individuals to seek treatment for their addiction.


In order to combat substance abuse and addiction, a unified front is required. Governments, communities, healthcare providers, institutions, and families must work collaboratively to break this cycle. The only way to ensure that no child falls into the cycle of poverty, drug abuse, and addiction is to shed light on their interconnectedness.


We must now shift our focus from treating the symptoms to eliminating their root causes. This is the only way out for the sake of the innocent children who have been trapped in the cycle of substance abuse, addiction, and poverty for far too long.


1. “And whoever saves one [a life] – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely” (Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5:32). This verse emphasizes the importance of preserving and valuing human life, highlighting the significance of addressing the challenges faced by individuals caught in the cycle of drug abuse and addiction.


2. “And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:155). This verse reminds us that trials and hardships are a part of life, including poverty and its associated challenges. It encourages patience and hope in the face of adversity.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “The likeness of the believers in their mutual love, mercy, and kindness is that of a body; when any part aches, the whole body responds with sleeplessness and fever” (Sahih Muslim). This hadith illustrates the importance of compassion and unity within the Muslim community. It reminds us that when one part of the community suffers, it is the responsibility of others to come together and support those in need.


“The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, but there is goodness in both of them. Strive for that which will benefit you, seek help from Allah, and do not despair. If a mishap should happen to you, don’t say, ‘If only I had done this or that,’ but rather say, ‘Allah has decreed and what He willed, He has done,’ for verily, ‘If’ opens the door for Satan’s work” (Sahih Muslim). This hadith encourages believers to remain steadfast in the face of challenges, seek help from Allah, and avoid despair. It reminds us to focus on taking positive actions and relying on Allah’s guidance.


These Quranic quotes and hadith reinforce the importance of compassion, unity, patience, and reliance on Allah in addressing this vicious . May Allah guide us in our efforts to make a positive difference in the lives of those affected and grant us success in alleviating their struggles.


Zaynab Raji-Ellams is a University Lecturer Based in Kano, Nigeria