’Breaking Bad’ Nigeria: Unpacking the Methamphetamine Scourge in Southeastern Nigeria

Kellogg Institute Graduate Research Grants
Grant Year

In November 2021, social media was flooded with videos from communities in Southeast Nigeria of young men and women brutally scourged for taking or dealing in crystal meth. In a public spectacle of violence, community leaders were trying to salvage what had become a full-blown meth crisis. But why are young people resorting to meth? What are the sociocultural, economic, and political contexts within which this crisis is happening? Why are community leaders resorting to this spectacle of violence? Using ethnography, the research seeks to uncover insider perceptions about the cause of the meth boom, the construction of this boom as a crisis, and the meaning of community-led responses to this crisis. Using ethnography, Beyond a pharmacological approach, the research both analyzes the human rights consequences of the drug crisis and explores the short- and long-term effects of the interventions both on the individual body and the social imaginary.