-As WAPCP takes drug abuse campaign to Surulere community
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, have recently called on parents, guardians and community leaders to step up monitoring of youths and children, in order to curb the prevalence of drug abuse and misuse in our society.
Representatives of the two agencies made the remarks during a one day community awareness campaign on drug abuse and misuse, organised recently by the West Africa Postgraduate College of Pharmacists, WAPCP, Faculty of Social and Administrative Pharmacy, Nigerian Chapter, at Obele-Odan Community, Surulere, Lagos.
The Assistant Director, Drug Abuse Preventive Education Department, NDLEA, Mrs Stella Ngwoke, noted that youths and children are more involved in drug abuse and misuse. While speaking on the topic, “The Role of NDLEA in Combating Drug Abuse in Nigeria”, she described illicit drugs as any substances that could transform the central nervous system and affect the person’s behaviour or thought.
According to her, “parents need to address their children’s challenges as regards drug abuse by monitoring their activities, and also by not being too tired to listen and pay attention to their needs because once the children lose faith in their parents, they can never confide in them again,’’ she said
The NDLEA official further stated that drug abuse poses a serious problem to the victims, the family and the entire society, adding that it has brought misery to many families, while the victims would be more predisposed to contacting the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and some other illnesses, and that it could lead to crime.
She also explained steps already taken by the agency in combating drug abuse; saying that the agency has introduced two strategies: the supply reduction – which has to do with reducing drugs in the society, and the demand reduction, adding that the agency was collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Education to infuse drug education in the curriculum of secondary schools.
Speaking in the same vein, Mr John Emmanuel Bankole, principal officer, Narcotics Substance Directorate, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, tasked parents to properly monitor their children’s activities and children of others, saying if they fail to monitor the children of others, those left unmonitored may become their nightmares in the community.
The expert also warned children to desist from exposing themselves to songs and other activities like peer pressure that expose them to substance abuse, saying the common slang ‘Science Student’ would only lead them to their doom.
“Parents, when last did you go to your children’s room to check the content of their bags and how often do you monitor their movements and the kind of friends they keep? These and many more are very important because the menace has eaten deep into our society and it has brought several harms to peoples’ lives”.
Bankole however urged youths at the event to go to streets and other places where smokers and drug abusers usually lurk to educate them on the consequences of their actions, saying there is need for people to wake up to their responsibilities and be their brothers’ keepers, so that the menace will be eradicated completely.
The Chairman, Obele Odan Community Development Area in Surulere, Mr Yusuf Osagie, called for proper enforcement of the law against illicit drugs peddling, saying drug abuse is not desirable in any society, and should be discouraged, as it can lead to fragmentation in the family, and also death.
In his own contribution, the Baale of Obele-Odan, Surulere Community, Oba Alh. Kareem Awoyemi, urged parents to pay attention to what their children are doing and should know the kind of friends they keep.
“I have made it known to my subjects, my people and all those who care to know that I, as the traditional leader of this community will not abhor hooliganism, criminal activities, occultism and several other vices, which are resultant effect of drug abuse, because I don’t abuse drug myself. I appreciate the gesture of the WAPCP for deeming my community fit for this kind of programme, and we hope to have them back sooner,” he said.
Other personalities at the programme included, Pharm. (Mrs) Margret Obono, director of Pharmaceutical Services, National Orthopeadic Hospital, Igbobi; Pharm. (Mrs) Scholastica Lan, programme convener and former chairperson, ALPs, Lagos State; Pharm. (Mrs) Amaka Ofomata, deputy zonal coordinator, ACPN, Surulere Zone; Mr Raymond Ibitoye, chairman, Landlords Association, Obele-Odan Community; Pharm Biola Paul-Ozieh, former chairman, ACPN, Lagos State, who represented the vice-president, PSN, Pharm. (Dr) Daniel Orumwense; Prof. Ibrahim Oreagba, head, Pharmacovigilance Unit, LUTH and Pharm. Bridget Okocha, former zonal chairman, ACPN, Surulere Zone, among others