It is a fact that the future of any society depends largely on the youth. Today, in Nigeria, the involvement of the youth, in substance abuse has taken a worrisome dimension as adolescents and youths of both sexes between 13 and 35 constitute the high risk group for drug abuse in the country. The frightening and excessive use of drugs among students, artisans, commercial sex workers and street children calls for urgent attention.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA has called on parents to sensitise their children on the dangers of using illicit drugs. The NDLEA Director-General, Mrs. Roli Bode-George spoke on Wednesday, June 23, 2016, during a walk against drug abuse and trafficking in Lagos State. In her statement, she said parents needed to join hands with the agency in the campaign against illicit drugs. The walk, which was part of the preparation to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking held in June 2016.
“The agency seeks to increase the level of awareness on drug abuse and trafficking. There are people who have drug abuse challenges but do not know how to get solution. Some of these people have died while others are confined to psychiatric hospitals. Parents can help to save a life from illicit drug use today if only they can listen more and seek help for children before and when they get hooked on illicit drugs,” she said.
ENCOMIUM Weekly sampled opinions of parents and guardians on ways to curb illicit drug use in the country. In the chat, they revealed the causes and how parents can stand as change agents.
SHITTU MUSTAPHA – Drug abuse among young people these days is baffling. The rate at which drug abuse is on the rise calls for urgent attention. As a father, I have always watched the activities of my children. I don’t act too harsh and I’m not too friendly with them. Many youths these days, especially boys are into the habit of illicit drug abuse just because they lack parental care. Over pampering a child is not the kind of care I mean but getting along and interested in your child’s activities and interests. I remember a young man who worked in my office some years back, I never knew this man smoked until I caught him in the act. I didn’t get too harsh with him. I only sat him down and educated him about the dangers in smoking. Today, the guy is doing fine. I think I was able to change him. So, parents are to teach their children good behaviour and not encouraging bad attitudes.
ADEBAYO OMOWUNMI – Drug abuse among youths is what we have been battling over the years and from my own point of view, I think parents contribute most to this bad attitude among the young ones. I have seen a situation where the father of a family sat down with his son to share a bottle of gin and cigarette. In this kind of situation, if the boy goes beyond his limit to illicit drugs, who do we blame? It’s the father, of course. The question is, what is the benefit of taking all these drugs? I believe if they are well educated about the dangers in the consumption of alcohol, cigarettes and illicit drugs, they will stay away from them. I saw a pack of cigarette sometimes ago and I read what was written on it, “Smokers are liable to die young.” The question is, can’t the consumers read this? The manufacturers wrote it boldly, yet people won’t stop taking it. It’s baffling. I think the government should ban public consumption of those licit drugs, they are influencing our youths.
MRS. GRACE OKEKE – To think about it, I believe parents have a lot to do in the move to curb drug abuse among youths. Looking at the situation as it is today, sometimes I wonder what the future of the young Nigerians holds. Both male and female are now used to illicit drugs abuse. Sometimes I wonder if the fault is from the parents or who can we attribute such disheartening behaviour to. I suggest government should go strict on illicit drug offenders. If a young boy or girl is capable of smoking hemp, it means such individual can face the consequences when the time comes.