By Rasheedah Makinde

The high rate of drug abuse, especially among the youths is responsible for the influx of mentally derailed people in the society.

A professor of Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine at the University College Teaching Hospital, UCH, Ibadan, Victor Laosebikan stated this in a lecture in Ibadan to commemorate this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking organized by the Oyo State Drug Abuse Control Committee, OYSDACC in collaboration with National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA.

Professor Laosebikan said drug abuse always have negative effects on people’s health psychologically, physically and mentally.

He said at the psychiatrist wards of most hospitals in Nigeria, drug abusers took the larger percentage in the number of the patients. 

Professor Laosebikan explained that consequences of drug abuse could be immediate or long term, which most times affect brain and possibly lead to mental illnesses or disorders. 

He called on people, especially those addicted to drugs to seek help in order not to jeopardize their lives. 

On her part, the Commissioner for Health in Oyo State, Dr Oluwaserimi Ajetunmobi said the event marked yet another landmark in their collective journey towards advancing strategies to stem the tide of the societal menace of drug abuse and its illicit trafficking. 

The health commissioner said the programme would address a pressing issue of drug abuse and illicit trafficking that pose as threat to national security and development.

“As we mark the United Nations International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, we are reminded of the devastating impact of drugs on individuals, families, and communities worldwide” she explained.

She noted that with this year’s theme, “The evidence is clear: invest in prevention”, it was pertinent for all stakeholders to see preventive measures as the most effective way to address drug abuse menace in the society.

“By investing in prevention, we can reduce the demand for drugs, support healthier choices, and build safer communities.” the commissioner explained 

She explained that prevention was not just a strategy but a necessity for young people who deserve a future free from addiction. 

“It’s a necessity for families who have lost loved ones to drug-related violence and overdoses. It’s a necessity for the communities torn apart by drug-related crime and corruption.”

“Investing in prevention means providing access to education, healthcare, and social services, it means promoting healthy lifestyles, life skills, and coping mechanisms. It means supporting research and innovation to better understand addiction and develop effective treatments”.

“Governments, civil society, international organizations, and individuals must work together to create a world where drug abuse is not tolerated and where support and treatment are available to all who need them.” 

“​As we convene to commemorate the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, we are reminded of the intricate and far-reaching consequences of drug abuse on individuals, communities, and societies worldwide”. Dr Ajetunmobi explained.

The theme, “The Evidence is Clear: Invest in Prevention” underscores the imperative of prioritizing prevention strategies in our collective efforts to address drug abuse and illicit trafficking.

Prevention is a multifaceted approach that encompasses a range of evidence-based interventions, policies, and programs aimed at reducing the demand for drugs, mitigating the harms associated with drug use, and promoting healthier and safer communities.

In her good will message, Chairman of the Codeine Control and Other Related Matters Working Group, Professor Toyin Odeku said the war against drug abuse should not be left for government alone, hence the need for collaboration of religious, community and traditional leaders who are closer to the grassroots.

Professor Odeku explained that if all hands are on deck in the fight against the menace, it would be reduced to the barest minimum.

Earlier, Director, National Drug Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Oyo State Command, Mr Olayinka Joe-Fadile said the major bottleneck in fighting drug war was the way social media and movie industry glamorizes in their content. 

Mr Joe-Fadile said if Nigeria Broadcasting Commission, NBC, could sanction movie producers who were fond of showcasing drug usage and trafficking in their works, it would go a long way at reducing the menace. 

The NDLEA boss in Oyo State, therefore, called on parents and guardians to monitor their children and wards in order for them not become a victim of drug offenders.

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