The youth of St Mulumba, Abuja Sub-Council, a faith-based organization and other stakeholders have called for increased efforts to prevent the threat of drug and illicit substance abuse in the country.
The Chairman of St Mulumba Youth Abuja Sub-Council (YSM), Mr. Ebube Nwaegbu, made the call during the organization’s first anniversary and stakeholder symposium, in Abuja on Saturday.
Nwaegbu said there was an urgent need for effective measures to address and prevent the abuse of drugs and illicit substances, especially among young people in Nigeria.
The theme of the symposium was: “Combating illicit drug and substance abuse: the role of faith-based youth organizations”.
He said that any society that wanted to develop had to address some of the challenges that affect youth.
He advised young people to flee drug addiction which had harsh effects on their body, personality and future.
“I want to urge young Nigerians to escape drug addiction and make themselves responsible and relevant to society, as leaders not only of tomorrow but also of today,” Nwaegbu said.
He said the program and its theme were organized to sensitize Nigerians, especially the youth, about the danger of drug abuse.
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The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) National Project Officer, Dr. Akanidomo Ibanga, who was one of the guest speakers at the event, also urged faith-based organizations to expedite action. preventive measures against drug abuse and illicit substances in the country.
Ibanga said preventive measures were important because the rehabilitation centers currently available in the country were insufficient to meet the number of those in need of rehabilitation.
He said there were currently 87 treatment centers with around 2,000 beds, while a survey showed as many as 3,000 people needed treatment for substance abuse and substance abuse issues. .
“We call on faith-based organizations to do their part, essentially to continue to invest in evidence-based prevention, care, and to invest in the rehabilitation and reintegration of those involved in substance abuse and addiction into society,” did he declare. .
He also called for the establishment of drop-in centres, where people could easily approach to drop off those involved in drug addiction for care, treatment and rehabilitation.
Ibanga also called for inclusive care and rehabilitation, especially for women involved in drug addiction.
Another guest speaker, Ms. Oluchi Nweke, urged young people to reject drug abuse, no matter how influential.
Nweke, who is deputy commander of PSO Narcotics Treatment and Rehabilitation (CAN) at the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), said the rising rate of hard drug use among young people was worrying.
Nweke said that substance abuse possesses a great danger that threatens the stability, unity and development of any nation.
She said drug abuse not only destroys the main organs of the body including the brain, heart, liver and kidneys, it also affects the well-being of people who are addicted to them, thus affecting their contribution development and national security.
“It is increasingly recognized that there is a close relationship between drug/substance abuse and national security.”
“A major element of national security is human security (protection of life and property); drug addiction damages the central nervous system and other organs of the body.
“The dependent individual will not be able to function optimally and as such will not have the capacity to contribute to the development of the nation,” she said.
Nweke urged the government to ensure that tertiary institutions do not go on strike to ensure students graduate on time, as well as create jobs for young people in abundance.
She also advised faith-based organizations to join the NDLEA in efforts to rid the country of drug and substance abuse.
“The prevention of drug abuse and trafficking is everyone’s business. Together we can achieve this and together we can achieve a drug-free society.
The Chaplain in charge of the Knights of Saint Mulumba, Abuja Council, the Rev. Innocent Joji, described drug abuse as a threat that had destroyed many potential leaders.
He said the threat must be fought jointly by all stakeholders, including faith-based organizations, governments and families.
“Also, parents should monitor their wards and if they see any changes in their wards, they should promptly send them to rehabilitation centers because the sooner the better,” he said.