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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has warned Nigerian youths and students alike, to shun any form of drug abuse in order not to jeopardise their future and end up bringing shame and reproach to their families.
The agency maintained that although the challenges associated with drug abuse are very complicated, they remain solvable if appropriate measures and policies are implemented.
The Commander of the NDLEA in Imo, Abubakar Wali, made this call while speaking at an inter-school competition organised by the agency in Owerri as part of activities marking the 2023 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on Monday.
Wali emphasised on the need for a people-centred approach to drug policies with a focus on human rights, compassion, and evidence-based practices.
He advised the participating students to embrace the message of having a drug-free society and to remain worthy ambassadors of the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA).
He further said: ‘The drug problem is a complex issue that affects millions of people worldwide, with many drug users, including our youths and students, facing stigma, which further harms their psychological and mental health.
‘We must approach this problem with a human face, combat stigma, raise awareness, and empower young people and communities as a way of solving the problem.’
Also speaking, The command’s Assistant State Commander, Operations and Training, Lamuwa Shehu, laid emphasis on realistic prevention strategies, including abstinence from the use of illicit drugs, to prevent complications.
He also advised the general public to deal with only qualified personnel in matters of drug abuse while condemning all forms of stigma against drug users.
A representative of Evergreen Pharmaceuticals, Orlu, Mrs Patricia Okwatibe, advised pharmaceutical outlets to insist on a doctor’s prescription for drug administration as a way of reducing the spate of drug abuse.
The participating schools included Emekuku High School, Owerri City College, Young Scientists College, Owerri, Imo Government Girls Secondary School, Emmanuel College, Owerri, Government Technical College, Owerri, and Santa Maria Secondary School, Assah, among others.