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COVID-19: Substance abuse among youths rises-Drug Law Agency

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has said drug abuse among youths in Nigeria increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted to major restrictions that kept many Nigerian youths idle.

The Nigerian government had introduced major restrictions at the peak of the pandemic to curb its spread, including; a lockdown of all schools across the country, restrictions on movements of persons, as well as enforcing preventive measures such as wearing of face masks and maintaining social distancing.

The lockdown affected students who have had to seat at home for over four months, and people’s livelihoods as well.

Mohammed was delivering a lecture at a youths summit organised by the National Youth Council of Nigeria(NYCN), Anambra East Council Area Chapter, with the theme”Effects of Drug Abuse on Youths and Crimes in the Community.”

Represented by Mr Christopher Adabo, who is also the Secretary, Anambra State Drug Control Committee, the NDLEA coordinator observed that boredom occasioned by COVID -19 lockdown, contributed to recorded cases of drug abuse by youths who sought for social ventilation.

The Anambra State Coordinator of NDLEA,Mr Idris Mohammed, stated that ignorance, pursuit of pleasure, peer pressure, advertisement and uncontrolled motive to enhance performance were also some of the factors responsible for youth indulgence in drug abuse.

Therefore, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA) is collaborating with the National Youth Council of Nigeria(NYCN) to strengthen intervention measures aimed at eliminating drug abuse among youths.

At the 7th National Youth Summit held in Aguleri, Anambra State, participants resolved to implement strategies to combat all forms of drug abuse, substance addiction, as well as youths’ indulgence in other illicit activities.

They reiterated the need to support institutional framework already in place to check youth restiveness across the nation.

Chairman of the Occasion, Mr Simeon Ogude, set the tune for the event by calling on Nigerians to intensify their effort to discourage youths from illegal use of drugs.

In a welcome address,Chairman of NYCN in Anambra East,Mr Peter Nnekwe,called on government at all level and civil society organisations to support the campaign to eliminate the use of drugs by youths.

“May I inform us that on our own,we have a vital strategic trust and action plan to curb the menace of drug abuse in our locality,” he said.

While commending Gov.Obiano for restoring the lost glory of youths involvement in politics, he enjoined them to reciprocate the gesture by abstaining from all forms of violence and criminality.

He warned against consequences of consumption of unprescribed drugs by medical practitioners and substances that could alter one’s mood, emotion or behavior, adding that such could jeopardize their health and future.

“Most criminal activities are carried out under the influence of drugs. Youths should not get themselves involved in drug abuse because it leads to drug addiction and from there to drug intoxication,” he added.

Deputy National President, NYCN, Mr Innocent Nduanya,advocated for strengthening of institutional frame work to tackle indulgences in drug abuse and thanked leadership of Council’s Chapter for planning the event.

He appreciated the chapter for considering it proper to empower one of its members,Mr Elias Iwuno,with a Commercial Tricycle to start his own business.

Presenting the Tricycle to Mr Iwuno,a native of Aguleri Otu, he said the gesture showed that youths could empower their members without external support.

Responding, Mr Iwuno, said his joy knew no bounds for the kind gesture extended to him by the youth body after 18 years of his membership.

Source: Voice of Nigeria