The Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALPs) has charged Nigerian youngsters, especially those in secondary school, to stay away from drug abuse because of its dire consequences on their health and social life.
Pharm. (Hajia) Zainab Sharif, national chairman of ALPs, gave this charge at a programme on drug abuse organised by the association as part of activities to mark its 12th Biennial National Conference.
Speaking during the programme chaired by Pharm. (Mrs) Moyosore Adejumo, director of pharmaceutical services, Lagos State Ministry of Health and held at the Ikeja Local Government Secretariat, Hajia Sherif admonished the youngsters to avoid drug abuse based on peer pressure, noting that many young people have destroyed their future as a result of using illicit drugs.
Also speaking at the occasion, Mrs Stella Nwoke, who represented the National Drug and Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), also charged students and young people in general to be vigilant and resist peer pressure once it involves drug abuse.
Mrs Nwoke, who delivered a paper on dangers of drug abuse at the event attended by students from schools in the Ikeja area, also urged the young ones to stay away from any environment where drug is used and sold.
She equally tasked parents to ensure closeness to their children and consistently monitor their activities.
The NDLEA chief, while acknowledging that drug abuse is a pervasive global problem, affecting both the young and old, noted that young people are the most vulnerable because they are always inquisitive and are easily influenced by peer pressure.
She disclosed that a recent research by NDLEA revealed that children as young as nine now abuse drug in Nigeria, adding that the most abused are prescription medicines like cough syrup with codeine prescribed for cough relief; and Tramadol, prescribed for pain.
Young people, she added are also abusing cannabis, marijuana and even cigarettes (tobacco) which though legal in Nigeria is illegal for children under the age of 18.
These harmful substances, Mrs Nwoke explained, have been confirmed to be harmful and responsible for damaging vital organs of the body like the kidney, liver, heart and brain.
Aside negative health effects, drug abuse, Mrs Nwoke noted, is also responsible for the increasing incidences of social problems like high school dropouts, armed robbery and rape.
In her closing remarks, Pharm. Adejumo urged all Nigerians to join hands to tame the challenge of drug abuse, noting that while the government is doing a lot to curb the menace, it is wrong to leave the issue for government alone to tackle.
She urged parents and other stakeholders to partner with the government to make a positive difference in the society.