As the world marked this year’s International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, Nigerian youths, especially adolescence, have been urged to say no to drug abuse and addiction, due to its harmful effects to health.
The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is an effort of the United Nations aimed at strengthening action and spreading awareness about drug abuse and illegal drug trade in the world.
Making the call recently during the National Essay Competition for Secondary Schools, organised by the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Drug Information Centre (DIC) to commemorate this year International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which held at the Sickle Cell Centre, Idi-Araba, Lagos, the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, noted that drug abuse is a major health problem globally, saying it is no longer a secret that many Nigeria youths, especially those in secondary schools experiment with drugs at one point or the other.
According to her, hard drugs cause a number of vices, including armed robbery, kidnapping, raping, prostitution, and even health challenges like madness, adding that there is also a high risk of liver and kidney diseases, including cancer, and other terminal illnesses, saying many of those engaged in such practices will not only have their lives’ dreams cut short, but also become less contributory to the society.
Also speaking at the event, the National Chairman, ACPN, Dr Albert Kelong Alkali, disclosed that drug abuse is one of the greatest challenges the country is facing presently, adding that there is no better time than now to start sensitising the younger ones about the dangers inherent in it, as it has become a big menace to the society.
Speaking further, Alkali noted that if the older generation refuse to rise up and assist the young ones today, so as to rid our society off the menace, it will come back to haunt them in the future. “These children are our future, so the earlier we start protecting their future, the better for our nation, because by the time we leave, they are the ones that will take over,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Pharm. Bukola Folorunsho, chairman, DIC, ACPN, explained that the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is an effort of the United Nations aimed at strengthening action and spreading awareness about drug abuse and illegal drug trade in the world, adding that it is an expression of determination towards the goal of achieving an international drug-free society.
According to her, the observance of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is very significant because there are varied socio-economic and cultural issues related to illegal drugs and drug trafficking, adding that drug abuse results in perhaps the worst kind of health problems and has become a major crime in almost all the country of the world.
Speaking on the theme for this year’s programme, “Listen First”, she disclosed that listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and safe. “Given the increased incidence of drug abuse in the youth and kids, it is important to listen to them first. This initiative aims at increasing support for science-based prevention of drug use and invests more on the well-being of kids, youngsters and their families,” he advised.
According to her, parents and members of the society should not stop creating awareness among their children and youths respectively on the dangers of drug abuse, adding that parents should monitor their children closely if they must effectively tackle drug use in them.
The high point of the event was the presentation of cash prizes to the winners, however at the end of the keen contest, which involved essay writing and presentation, five students from four schools, emerged winners and they included, Hephzibah Ogbonaya, Living Word Academy Secondary, Aba, Abia State; Eniola Sanya of Reagan Memorial Baptist Girl Secondary School, Yaba, Lagos; Divine Nkala from Federal Science and Technology College, Lagos; Ebubechukwu Udeh, from Ikeja Senior High School; and Festus Erondu, from Living Word Academy Secondary School, Aba, Abia State.
Meanwhile, the first prize of Hundred Thousand Naira, was presented to Hephzibah Ogbonaya, Living Word Academy Secondary, Aba, Abia State, while Eniola Sanya of Reagan Memorial Baptist Girl Secondary School, Yaba, Lagos; Divine Nkala from Federal Science and Technology College, Lagos, were presented with prizes of Seventy Thousand Naira, and Fifty Thousand Naira, for coming second and third consecutively.
Other dignitaries at the event included, Pharm. Olufemi Ismail Adebayo, immediate past chairman, ACPN; Pharm. Abosede Idowu, national secretary, ACPN; Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator; Pharm. Madehin Gafar Olanrewaju; and Pharm. Sola Onanusi.