By CHINYERE Nnaemeka
The Pharmacist Council of Nigeria (PCN) has held advocacy workshop on drug and substance abuse for students and youth.
The workshop which was held last Thursday in Owerri had the presence of the special guest of honour; the State Governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, represented by the special adviser on media, Steve Osuji, the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Chioma Ajunwa – Opara, state Commandant of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Mr. Kayode Raji, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy University of Ibadan, Prof. Oluwatoyin Odeku among other dignitaries.
In his keynote address, the Registrar of PCN, Pharm. Elijah Mohammed who recognized all the dignitaries, stated ” The goal is to explore and promote, economic, development potentials Nigerian youths and help the understand and appreciate the fact it is profitable to live a healthy life style without necessarily engaging in the indiscriminate use of illicit drugs and substances that it is adding that want to make youths comprehend the relevance of living a healthy successful life style devoid of being a drug addict.”
Mohammed pointed out that the council had the mandate to regulate, control, train and practice pharmacy education in all ramification and so had been concerned with the use, misuse and abuse of narcotics, psychotropics and other substances by especially youths which according to him, had wrecked havocs in the country.
He stated that the extent of drug use in Nigeria Survey report released in January, as the first ever comprehensive report revealed that the drug use prevalence in the country is 14.4% or 14.3 million people between the ages of ages 15 – 64 years, which according to him, is comparatively high when compared to global prevalence rate – 5.5% of the 2019 World Drug Report (WDR).
The special adviser, Osuji stated that the governor was delighted to have been invited to the occasion and had assured to do his quota in ensuring that the advocacy was disseminated in all the nooks and crannies of the state.
He said that there was need to project the message across the state and Local Government Areas as the issues had eaten deep into the society, adding that it needs to be addressed urgently to avoid its impending danger it could pose in future.
Osuji opined “It would be a right step in the right direction for the Federal Government to declare State of Emergency on the issue as it had led to the series of immoral acts ranging from cultism, kidnapping, banditry and murder which people could not engage in without being high on those drugs.”
The Assistant Commissioner of Police Ajunwa, who stated that drugs could kill and heal ailments, pointed out that it is not only hard drugs like cocaine, and nicotine that can be abused. “ Good drugs like Vitamin C, Paracetamol others can also be abused when it is constantly consumed without doctor’s prescription.”
She advised that people for their own good should learn to seek the attention of qualified medical practitioners before consuming any kind of drug for treatment.
Ajunwa urged the participants to learn from the mistake of others and not allow their peers push them into taken hard drugs for enhancement of school performance or any other reason.
The guest lecturer, Odeku during her lectures, mentioned among others reasons why people engage in taking hard drugs to be – unemployment, peer influence, environment, for fun and curiosity.
She added that the effect which could be detrimental to the health includes: weakening of the immune system, hypertension, mental effect, and increased cardio – vascular issues among others.
She urged the leaders to invest more on the industrial sector so as to provide jobs for thousands of graduate idly whiling away their time, adding that parents should learn to create quality time for their children, listen to their plights and monitor their developmental processes.
To the youths she said “make the right choices, chose your friends and who you listen to for you are responsible for the choices you make in life.”