Veteran actor, Patrick Doyle is sure of one of that loveable actor that has graced our screen over time with a respectable character delivery at all time. Cornered at the private screening of the ‘Scourge’, a movie on drug addiction, Patrick Doyle spoke with MUTIAT ALLI, on the negative impact of drugs amongst youths, the role of entertainers in this menace amongst others
Do you believe drug addiction is a problem that just this generation has in surplus?
No, it has always been around ad it will always be around. I was a young man, I was a teenager in the 70s, I had the opportunity of taking drugs, but then we were few. We were not proud of it and we certainly did not flaunt it.
These days, I am seeing people who are proud of it. I see people in open-aired bus-stops hawking marijuana. As young people, when we indulged in those types of behaviour, we hid in the jungle.
Why do you think that is?
I don’t know, society is just becoming more open and more exposed. It is an information age, and socialization has become easier. Inhibitions are much lower too.
A lot of my contemporaries who indulged in drugs back in the day have now become judges. For some people, drug usage is a rite passage.
But I was positively affirmed, so I knew that it was merely a rite of passage for me at the time, so for me, it was “been there, done that, can we move on?” But the kids that we have now because no one is affirming them they enter into drug addiction.
But because I was being positively affirmed, I knew that drug use was just a phase and we were playing, and my real life was still ahead of me.
But for these kids today, no one is doing that, what they are seeing is monkeys called Nigerian music artistes on television showing a lifestyle of N30 billion, and talking about ‘Aremo Gucci’ and ‘Soapy’.
That is why parents have to do that job of affirmation so that they can stem the tide of the things that they can see in the media.
We have seen you in the recent movie, Scourge by Yinka Olaiya and directed by Saidi Balogun. When you saw the script,
what motivated you to star in such a film that has a strong message?
The truth is that Saidi Balogun is my friend, and there is no way he would ask me to do something and I would say no. But having said yes to Saidi and he told me what the film was all about, I was glad I said yes in the first place because it is something that I particularly believe in.
I believe that we should do all that we can and everyone should pitch in to fight the scourge of drug addiction in our society. Drug addiction is moving from an epidemic to a pandemic. I didn’t realize the scale and scope of it until recently. It is a serious matter.
But this is just one film trying to sort out a big problem…
One million films cannot make a difference in the problem. It is not a function of a film making a difference; it is a function of us as a society, parents, aunties, uncles, pastors, teachers and everyone who is an adult, positively affirming the young ones.
That’s because our youths have been traumatized with reverse affirmation. Rather than being affirmed, they are being called names and labeled. We have had leaders in this country who have called our youth lazy.
When you call the youths lazy, you are disincentivising them from being productive. They would believe that since the president believes they are lazy, what’s the point of doing anything.
So all of us have to affirm these kids whenever we see them. Give them words of encouragement and things like that.
Constantly affirm them; what we are doing is that because they have low self-esteem, that’s why they can fall prey to drugs.
So it is only when you have reinforced their self-esteem that a movie like Scourge highlighting the dangers of drug addiction can work.
A child who is already into drugs will watch Scourge and laugh. Everyone really has to work on reinforcing their sense of self-worth.
When you do that, films about drug abuse will work. But if you do not affirm them positively, all the films will just fly over their heads and the next person who comes to show them tramadol will take them away.
There’s a school of thought that believes a large number of Nigeria parents are insensitive to the problem. Many parents still believe that it is impossible for their own children to suffer from that problem. How did you come to realize that drug abuse is as bad as social and health workers claim?
I was truly blinded to it because my children are adults, they have passed this stage, and luckily none of them manifested the problem.
But now, I keep hearing about it, I am reading material and all of it. I didn’t know of the ‘skuchis’ and all the rest, but I now know about it. Now I realize that the youth I saw holding a bottle of water was actually holding a substance like Tramadol?
They even call it feeder now. I didn’t understand all these before, but I am beginning to understand the whole thing now that I have been told what those things are.
When I see kids now, I am more observant. When I see kids now and I see them holding a hot bottle of Coca-Cola or Pepsi, I pay attention.
These drinks are best served chilled, and it is supposed to be cold, so I begin to wonder, why are they moving about with one bottle of drink all through the day? Now I understand what is in it and I realize how bad it is.
Many people won’t still, notice these things, how easy is it for you to notice now?
I believe it is because I am also a storyteller, so I am observant. But really, if you just affirm your children at home, you will not need to lecture them on drugs.
Parents need to take time to praise their children and to build the self-esteem of their children. Just let them know that you have an expectation of them.
If you have no expectation of them, they have nothing to live up to. But if you set goals for them, and take steps to incentivize them, I believe they won’t venture into drugs.
Are you also of the opinion that stars and celebrities should not be used to promote alcohol and other controlled beverages?
I agree 100%. The lifestyle that they have promoted, which some of these adult delinquents have also adopted is that by all means, “buy the Bentley.”
So if it is a whiskey, brandy or tequila brand that will give you the endorsement to do that, take the endorsement. A lot of entertainers in this industry have surrendered to mammon.