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NDLEA warns youths against drug abuse

The chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (retd.) has cautioned young Nigerians against the use of illicit drugs.The NDLEA boss made the call on Wednesday in Abuja, while speaking on the topic: “Culture, drug abuse and the future of Nigerian youths” at the National Institute for Cultural Orientation’s 2023 Annual Public Lecture.

Marwa, who was represented at the event by Mrs. Anthonia Madubuike, praised NICO for its thoughtfulness in organising the annual lecture series. Marwa noted that the event demonstrated NICO’s strong commitment and passion for eliminating the scourge of drug abuse and its consequences on society.

“This event is apt and timely because it creates awareness of the dangers inherent in drug abuse. It also sensitises members of the society on their roles in drug abuse prevention, treatment and care.

“Substance abuse has medical, social, economic and psychological consequences on user, family and on society at large,” the NDLEA boss said.

Marwa stated that young people who frequently use drugs are more likely to face problems such as academic difficulties, health-related issues, poor relationships with peers, and involvement with the juvenile justice system.
He also highlighted the negative consequences of drug abuse, such as violence, rape, suicide, paranoia, poor academic performance, dropping out of school, poor health, financial debt, and wasted resources.

He stressed that drug abusers are more likely to be involved in cultism, thuggery, kidnapping, terrorism, racketeering, and armed robbery.
Marwa highlighted the importance of empowering young people by providing them with high-quality education, skill acquisition opportunities, employment, access to healthcare, and social support systems.
“Addressing drug abuse requires a comprehensive approach that includes prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation services that should be accessible, affordable and culturally sensitive.

“Drug abuse prevention efforts should focus on education and awareness about attendant risks and enhancement of protective factors such as family and community support,’’ he stated.

Marwa advised that school curricula should include drug abuse education to enlighten young people about the risks of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking. He recommended that this education should be directed towards students, principals, teachers, counsellors, and school administrators.He urged governments, civil society organisations, communities, religious leaders, professional bodies, and NGOs to work together and create a supportive environment to promote the positive development of Nigerian youths. He also advised parents to be involved in their children’s education, and pay attention to their activities, the company they keep, and their internet usage.

“Schools should also establish a tripartite communication between parents, schools and students.
“Leveraging technology and media to disseminate information, focusing on positive role models and inspiring narratives, can help to shape cultural norms and attitudes towards drug abuse.
“Culture, drug abuse and the future of the Nigerian youth are interconnected.
“Recognising and respecting cultural values while addressing the challenges of drug abuse can provide Nigerian youths with opportunities to thrive and contribute positively to national development,’’ he stressed.

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