Stories by Stanley Onyekwere
In a bid to stem drug and other substance abuse, the Federal Capital Territory Drug Abuse Control Committee (FCT-DACC) has taken the campaign against drug abuse to students Kwali Area Council of the Territory.
Our correspondent reports that the Committee sensitized the students in the on the dangers of indulging in menace.
The awareness campaign was in commemoration of this year’s International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking, with the theme: ‘Listen First’, held last week at Government Secondary School Kwali, attracted students of the School as well as a host of parents and teachers.
Addressing the students, Secretary, Health and Human Services Secretariat, Barrister Amanda Pam, said that Drug abuse control was the responsibility of government as well as communities, families, schools, civil societies, as well as religious organizations.
Amanda, who was represented by the Medical Director, Kwali General Hospital, Dr. Halima Bello, advised the students to focus on their studies so as to be useful members of their family and the society at large.
She opined that: “Through careful listening by parents, guardians, teachers, policy makers and youth, the development of drug abuse, misuse and risky behaviors can be controlled and prevented.
“You are better off if you don’t experiment with it, I therefore urge you our dear leaders of tomorrow to lend your listening ears to the resource persons today,” she said.
Pam commended the FCT Drug Abuse Control Committee for having over the years organized Drug Abuse Campaigns in several schools in the FCT.
In a welcome address by Chairperson of DACC represented by Pharm. Abubakar Nata’ala, urged students to listen with rapt attention to the lectures prepared for them so that it would have a positive impact on them.
Various resource persons enlightened the students as they were exposed to the dangers and consequences of drug abuse. And speaker after speaker cautioned the students to run away from drug abuse as it would definitely ruin their future.
According to Pharmacist Rilwan Adegboye, who is the Head of Department, Pharmacy, Kubwa General Hospital drilled the participants on the topic, Drug Abuse and its Consequences.
Adegboye enumerated drugs and substances that are commonly abused, and causes to include: risk factor, that people who take greater risks in life have greater chances of indulging in drug abuse.
He also added that Group factor, where people want to take drugs in order to be able to belong to certain groups, Family Risk factor, where one or both parents are drug addicts, there are greater chances of the children becoming addicts, and uncontrollable access to funds.
He explained the consequences of drug abuse are degradation of societal values where respect has lost its value, drug users are known to have become beggars and nuisance to themselves and society, involvement in crimes like robbery and rape, as well as increase in the contract of HIV, Hepatitis, Tuberculosis.
Similarly, Pharmacist Nwoye Eze Chukwu, took the topic, “Creating a Drug free society: Role of Youth”, advising the students to just say no to the use of drugs and that they must not experiment with drugs because when they start, they cannot stop.
He took the students on a pledge that they will never indulge in drug abuse.
Representative of Jama’tu Nasril Islam (JNI), Hassan Hamman Yaji, gave the Islamic view on drug abuse, stressing that children must respect and obey their parents as God has chosen the parents for them and that they must obey God.
In the same vein, representative of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Mrs. Comfort Onoba, admonished the students to read the bible all the time in order to know the ways of the Lord and that they would not depart from it when they are old.
Not left out, Principal of Government Secondary School, Kwali, Alh. Saidu Balogun said it was a great honour that the Committee had brought the sensitization campaign to their doorstep.
He urged the students to take advantage of the opportunity of the lectures, saying “it may be a way out for some of you who may be tempted to try it.
“This sensitization is not only for you but for you to educate your friends not to indulge in it.”
Other guests who spoke on the dangers of drug abuse were, the PTA Vice Chair, Engr. Ali Muktar, HOD Nursing, Kwali General Hospital, Mrs. Victoria Akhigbe and representative of HOD Health, Kwali Area Council, Maryam Buhari.
Furthermore, DACC Secretary, Pharm. Halima Sadiya Abullahi Gero, initiated the resuscitation of the School’s Drug Abuse Control Club, so as to follow up with the students on continuous sensitization against drug abuse.
Students who spoke at the end of the programme, Ezeudo Esther Ifeoma, Dogara Bilatus and Usman S. Hadiza all enthused that the lectures had been of great benefit to them and that they would take the message back to their friends both in the school and at home.