40% of Nigerian youths engage in illicit drug abuse
The United Nations Office of Drug and Crime (UNODC), has revealed that 14.4 million people in Nigeria use hard drugs, just as it ranked Oyo State as a major cultivator and user of cannabis in the country.
The UN representative, Mrs. Foluso Ajayi, disclosed said at the launch of Behavioural Initiative Centre, facilitated by O’First, a socio- cultural organisation in Ogbomoso, Oyo state.
The revelation came barely a month after the chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Elimination of Drugs Abuse (PACEDA), Gen. Buba Marwa said that about 15 million adult Nigerians are on drugs with the southwest geo-political zone topping the record with 22 per cent.
The centre was built purposely to reduce and control the abuse of hard drugs among the youths in Ogbomoso and its environs through treatment, guidance and counselling, rehabilitating and related activities
In his remarks, the chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Col. Muhammad Mustapha, said no country can survive with the high level of drug abuse in the country.
Mustapha, who was represented by his chief of staff, Mr. Femi Oloruntoba, maintained that unless Nigerians took up the battle against abuse of hard drugs, the country will not succeed in the fight against the scourge.
In his remarks, Marwa identified the rapid deteriorating levels of societal values and norms as major causes of drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
The PACEDA chairman who was represented by his chief of staff, Mr. Lanre Funsho, commended O’ First for its initiative and standing up to tackle the menaceof drug abuse.
He urged the other groups to join hands with PACEDA to fight the menace.
In another report, UNODC revealed that 40 per cent of Nigerian youths still engage in illicit drug abuse.
The report obtained by the Advocacy for Positive Behavioral Patterns Initiative expressed worry over the increasing rate of drug abuse among youths which according to them is responsible for the increasing rate of crime in the society and high spate of suicide.
The chairman of the Civil Society Organisation Mann Bamidele disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at an awareness creation exercise for secondary school pupils on ‘Drug Abuse and violence among teenagers’
Mann who pointed out that the awareness creation was part of activities to celebrate the World Children’s Day celebration with the theme illicit drug abuse among teenagers and the challengers noted that the importance of the sensitization exercise was because of the prevalent rate of drug abuse amongst the youths.
He pointed the high rate of depression in the country leading to suicide saying most people fall into depression because of drug abuse adding that they have always encouraged the teenagers and youths that if they need to get high they should get high on grades not on drugs.
Lamenting that the awareness level of drug abuse is low in the country, he said many youths have fallen into drug abuse due to the lack of understanding and they could be easily lured through peer pressure.
He further stated that his organisation had been working with UNODC to sensitize the youths on the effect of drug abuse and the need for them not to fall into victim of being pressurize into the illicit act.
In his remarks, the deputy director of Child Welfare Social Development Secretariat FCT condemned the high level of drug abuse in the society.
“Drug abuse among children has become a source of concern, aside the conventional drugs there are other things taken as drugs such as Solution for tyre, cough syrups among others.
Stressing the need to raise more awareness on the menace, he noted that aside government, parents, schools, friends all have roles to play in addressing the situation.