By Victor Nwachukwu
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) says that though the challenges associated with drug abuse are complex, they remain solvable.
The Commander of the NDLEA in Imo, Mr Abubakar Wali, said this at an inter school competition organized by the agency in Owerri, on Saturday, as part of activities marking the year 2023 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that June 26 of every year was set aside by United Nations General Assembly in 1989 to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
The theme for year 2023 is : “People First: Stop Stigma and Discrimination, Strengthen Prevention “.
Wali, a Commander of Narcotics, harped on the need for a people-centered approach to drug policies, with a focus on human rights, compassion and evidence based practices.
He advised the participating students to comprehend the message of having a drug free society and to remain worthy ambassadors of the War Against Drug Abuse.
“The world drug problem is a complex issue that affects millions of people worldwide, with many drug users facing stigma and further harming 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 ,” he said.
Speaking, the Command’s Assistant State Commander, Operations and Training, Mr Lamuwa Shehu, laid emphasis on realistic prevention strategies such as abstinence from early drug abuse to prevent complications.
He 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 Managing Director, Amber City Hotels, Owerri, Mr Ifeanyi Nwadike, advised hotel owners to be wary of persons granted accommodation in their facilities and the activities of such persons , to checkmate the menace of drug abuse.
One of the participating students, Miss Augusta Emecheta of the Ihitenansa Secondary School, Orsu, thanked the NDLEA for the programme and pledged to take the campaign against drug abuse home.
The participating schools included the 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.
Highlights of the event were dance performances by the students and the presentation of awards and gifts to best performing schools. (NAN)