Journalists under the umbrella of Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN) and security stakeholders have called for more collaborative efforts to check drug abuse amongst the youths.
They made the call on Monday in Lagos during the 2022 International Day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking organised by CRAN with the theme “Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crisis”.
About 180 students, drawn from nine secondary schools, under Ikeja, Mushin and Oshodi Educational Districts were present at the event.
The National Bureau of Statistics puts to 15 million the alarming chunk of Nigeria population involved in drug abuse. More worrisome is the fact that the youths account for one or two out of every four drug users in Nigeria.
The President of CRAN, Mr Olalekan Olabulo noted that the consequences have led to the prevailing cases of banditry, kidnapping, unwanted pregnancies, burglary, broken homes and an upsurge in crime.
In his contribution, the Commander, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Lagos State Command, Mr Ayinde Aileru, said that hard drugs was posing a great threat to the nation.
He urged parents to watch out for some signs in their children, with a view to detect if they were into drugs or not.
“Some of the signs are withdrawal from friends, physical appearance, bloodshot eyes, poor performance at school, changes in physical appearance, sudden wearing of perfume, licking sweets among others.
The Commissioner of Police in Lagos state, CP Abiodun Alabi, represented by the command’s spokesman, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, said that drugs intake was a major contributor to crime.
“Taking drugs can get you mad, destabilize your future. Students should shun crimes and remain focus, so that you will not end in prison.
“Be careful, don’t try to engage in drugs, do not fall for peers pressure, when you start engaging in drugs, it will truncate your future and you will become a nonetity.
An official of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Mr Taiwo Adeboyega, said that human traffickers take drugs to sexually abuse their victims.
“Sometimes, drugs are added to victims’ drinks to make them do what they don’t want to do.
Dr Isaac Olatunde of Global Initiative on Substance Abuse, a Non- government Organization (NGO) said that taking hard drugs can affect the central nervous system and brain.
“Be determined to make your future bright, do not be involved in drug so that your tommorow can be great,” he said.
For Mrs Yewande Iwuoha, founder of Action Now Against Drug Abuse, many destinies have been derailed by drug abuse.
“Don’t join them instead, get involve in sports, paintings and other vocations that can even fetch you money.
“Do not be tempted to taste it because if you do, you will get deeper and even become addicted to it,” she warned.