ALPs, NDLEA Warn Students against Dangers of Drug, Substance Abuse

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A cross-section of speakers and members of the lady pharmacists at the school outreach.

Members of the Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALPs) Lagos State Branch in collaboration with ALPs National, Lagos State Interministrial Drug Abuse Control Committee and the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have cautioned students against the negative impacts of drug and substance addiction, lamenting the huge loss of human and material resources it has caused the global community. They urged the youngsters to resist pressure from their peers or any person that may want to lure them into the evil act.

The lady pharmacists, gave this charge on Wednesday, to students of five secondary schools in Lagos, including Obele Community Senior and Junior High Schools; Ideal Girls Senior and Junior High Schools; and Gbaja Girls High School, as they organised drug abuse campaign in commemoration of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, with the theme, “The evidence is clear: Invest in prevention of substance abuse.”

With the recent report by the United Nations Office on drug and crime in Nigeria indicating that about 15 million people between ages 15 to 64 abuse drugs and substances, the Guest Speaker, Pharm. (Mrs) Regina I. Ine, emphasised why students must say no to the menace of drug abuse, irrespective of how commonplace it is in the society. Astonished by the responses of the youngsters when asked for the names of common drugs and substances misused in the society, she stressed that knowing the names should not implies experimentation, as she urged them to do away with all temptations to test the substances.

Ine who spoke on the topic “ Empowering you to become agents of change”, described the personality and qualities of an agent of change to the students, saying that he or she is empowered with the right information to enlighten his or her peers towards transforming them to become better persons in the nearest future. Noting the fact that alcohol is becoming socially acceptable but it is illicit, she said it is not right for anyone to take it. “As a change agent, simply having this information empowers you to discourage your friends from taking alcohol and any other substance that is harmful to their system.”

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She continued, “However, that change we are talking about is that seeing that you are doing something in a particular way before, and want to take it to a better way and you are also supporting the issue by promoting it. So when you are empowered, which means you have information, you are aware, you are supporting that young people from 15-24, must stop the misuse of drugs to prevent going into addiction. Addiction is bad, so we are empowering you today to be agents of change so that you won’t join them.

Some of the students at the programme.

The National Chairman, ALPs, Pharm. (Mrs) Scholastica Lan, who joined the programme virtually appreciated the Lagos State Branch for the initiative in enlightening the young ones against the deadly impacts of drugs and substance abuse on their health. She further admonished the students to be focused minded on their academics, and avoid and distraction to go into drugs, as many have ruined their lives and career on the altar of drug addiction. She urged them to report any friend or neighbour that may want to influence them negatively to their parents or teachers in order for such intimidation to be addressed promptly.

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The Director of Pharmaceutical Services, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Pharm. (Mrs) Oyebisi Omolambe, with her team members from the ministry, made an impactful presentation to the students with different educational posters against drug abuse and why they must desist from it with all seriousness.

Some of the posters they displayed to the students read “Believe you can live without drugs; Say no to drugs, yes to life; There’s not a drug on earth that can make life meaningful; If you can quit for a day, you can quit for life time; Drug abuse leads to waste of life; On the fight against drug abuse in Lagos; Share facts about drugs, save lives”.

In a chat with the Deputy Commander, Narcotics, NDLEA, Mrs Titilope Ogu, she decried the situation of drugs misuse and trafficking in the country, as she called for the collaboration of stakeholders, like community leaders and religious leaders in educating the people in their areas, with NDLEA officers to teach people about creating awareness about drug abuse and misuse. She however expressed their limitations, saying they can’t be everywhere, which implied their need of information from people in the community to locate those abusing drugs.

“And if you see something, say something, because all these drug dealers live in hideouts, and we are not spirit. We work on information. So, we appreciate if they can give us information. We will process it intelligently.”

Addressing the students earlier, the Lagos State ALPs Chairman, Pharm. (Dr) Afusat Adesina, informed them about the group’s mission to the schools, and their objectives. Adesina who was represented by Pharm. Bunmi Laja, at the programme, underscored the need for governments and parents to take the bull by the horn to eradicate the problem from the society. She called regulatory agencies to be up and doing in preventing these drugs and substances from circulating in the communities.

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“A good example of a commonly abused drug is sachet alcohol. As a drug posing grievous threat to human health, one wonders why it was approved in the first instance. So government itself must be ready to address it, to take the bull by the horn, irrespective of whose ox is god. If these things are not easily available, these children, some of whom are usually sent on errant to buy these sachet alcohol by their parents or guardians will not be exposed to it.

“But if it is not easily available, then you've cut the supply. So, there is need for intensified advocacy from parents and governments against drug and substance abuse. Just like ALPs is creating awareness today, If these institutions really, really do their awareness campaigns effectively, these children will see it as it is and will desist from joining the gangs of addicts”, she quipped.

On her part, the chairman, organising committee of the outreach, Pharm. (Mrs) Yewande Olorunsola, noted the essence of the campaign, which is to empower the students with the necessary information against drug and substance abuse, in order for them to be courageous to take the wise decision.

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