By Ibironke Ariyo
Dr Yusuf Suberu Foundation has urged parents to educate their children and wards against the dangers of drug abuse to reduce risk of mental illnesses and other risky behaviours.
The Executive Director of the foundation, Dr Yusuf Suberu, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja.
He fielded questions on this year’s World Drug Day.
NAN reports that the theme of the event is “People First; Stop Stigma and Discrimination; Strengthen Prevention”.
Suberu said that children who were not properly informed were at greater risk of engaging in unsafe behaviours and experimenting with drugs.
He, however, identified parents as critical to the fight against rising drug addiction among different age groups, especially children, saying that young people who persistently abused substances often experienced problems.
“Parent, you need to pay adequate attention to your children. You need to see what they are doing and when they are misbehaving.
“For instance, you see your son who doesn’t take chloroquine and then he is scratching himself and hitting himself and then, you know something is not right.
“Or when he shouts uncontrollably and his anger level is high and then you should start finding out what your son is engaging in that you don’t know and from there, you discover early that he has been taking something.
“Please, it is also better to take them to rehabilitation centre than covering it in the house. My mum said something to me that anybody that doesn’t want to be ashamed in a small circle will be ashamed in a big circle,” he said.
Suberu, who decried the alarming spate of drug abuse among youth and children, warned that there were consequences for family members, community and the entire society.
He said a drug addict in the family is likely to be stealing regularly and indiscriminately from the mother, father and siblings, neighbours and family friends, thereby constituting embarrassment and disgrace to the family.
He however advised parents to build trust between them and their children which was essential in reducing drug abuse.
Suberu, who doubled as the representative of all Civil Societies Organisation (CSOs) and Non Governmental Organisation (NGOs) on road safety matters, urged that parents to also help their children make good choices and good friends.
He emphasised that the fight against drug abuse should begin with families to help discourage demand and supply of drugs to safeguard their future.
“Policy is very important and so far so good, there has been policies against drug that are not accepted in the society. Now, everybody should be on the look out for our society.
“This is because sometimes, we realise that drugs that have been banned are still been sold and when such is noticed, the best is to report the matter.
“We believe that if much effort is put in discouraging demand for drugs; suppliers will find the business no longer profitable and will definitely be forced to switch to other legal business ventures.
“Parental monitoring and supervision of friendships are also critical for drug abuse prevention,” he said.
Besides, Suberu urged more advocacy against drug abuse, saying that it does not only mean saving drug abusers but also saving the next generation coming.
He said that the foundation had been engaging in advocacy and sensitisation programmes in building leaders with great attitudinal behaviour in the society.
“Now I’ll say information is power. I think we will also be looking at considering a seminar soon, for young people and more advocacy on the dangers of engaging in drug abuse.
“More of education is required. you know education is in different forms. There are education that people just hear and then that’s all.
“But when you get to see a picture or hear from someone who have been engaged in drug abuse and how it has messed up their lives, I am sure it will help to adjust their mental state.
“This is because, no matter how high you are, you can never be like the Most high God,” he said.
Suberu is a youth who is passionate about youths and children.
He is also the FCT Squadron Leader and National Coordinator of Road Traffic Officers Mayors of the Federation. (NAN)