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, themed: Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crisis.
They pointed out that drug abuse, particularly, among the youths has gone to a state of emergency, as it now gives serious concern to security agencies, parents, teachers and those in authorities.
The President of CRAN, Mr. Olalekan Olabulo, said that the wave of drug addiction has tipped the nation into a boiling conundrum as the youths, especially students and pupils, now abuse drugs everywhere daily.
“Most of them imbibe substances like cough syrups, Indian hemp and off-the-counter drugs like rophynol, tramadol, diazepam and lexotan, which are controlled drugs that should only be sold after a doctor’s prescription.
“The consequences has led to the prevailing cases of banditry, kidnapping, unwanted pregnancies, burglary, broken homes and an upsurge in crime.
“The crises has become worse, exacerbating into economic, social and physiological crisis, which if unchecked, portends grave danger to the society at large,” he said.
Olabulo said that CRAN stance in keying into the United Nations programme was to stem the underlying fact that drug abuse and human trafficking have become a horrifying menace that were tearing the fabrics of the society, with attendant effect on the youths.
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.
The commander, who was represented by Mr. Oke Semai, Assistance Commandant, Asset and Financial Investigations, said that the youths must know the dangers involved in engaging in drugs.
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.
“Drugs are any substance that get to your body and changes your thinking, behaviour, they are controlled drugs and should not be taken without medical prescription,” he said.
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, distabilise your future. Students should shun crimes, 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.
“When a minor or teenager commit a grievous offences, he or she will be jail in the juvenile prison except when it is a minor offences,” Alabi counselled.
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.
“Some packaged drugs in their belongings and move them from one location or country to another,” he said.
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.
“When taking drugs, it affect your reasoning faculty, sense of judgement that will make you misbehave.
“Be determine to make your future bright, do not be involved in drug so that your tommorow can be great,” he said.
For Mrs. Yewande Iwoha, founder of Action Now Against Drug Abuse, said that so many destinies have been derailed for taking drugs.
“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.
About 180 students, drawn from nine secondary schools, under Ikeja, Mushin and Oshodi Educational Districts were present at the event.