Pubdate: Thu, 24 Jun 2010
Source: Daily Independent (Nigeria)
Contact:  Block5, Plot7D, Wempco Road, Ogba, Lagos Nigeria P.M.B. 
21777, Ikeja Lagos Nigeria
Copyright: 2010 Independent Newspapers
Author: Victor Ebimomi


Lagos State, like many others across the country has its own share of 
social deviants, who indulge in all sort of youthful recklessness. 
 From Oshodi to Oyingbo, Iyana-Ipaja to Lekki, Ojota to Ikorodu and 
Mile 2 to Badagry, it is common to see youths whose past time is drug 
abuse. When they are not smoking their lives away with cannabis or 
other hard drugs, they are reveling in hard drinks, including the 
local stuff known as paraga.

Worried by this ugly development, particularly with its dire 
consequences on the future of those involved, Inside Ajeromi, 
community newspaper, penultimate Sunday began a campaign to sensitise 
the youths in the state about the danger of drug abuse and the need 
to keep off the habit.

Already the United Nations has set aside tomorrow June 26, 2010, as 
International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking with the 
theme; " Choose Health, Not Drug".

The campaign, which was kick-started at Ifelodun Local Council 
Development Area (LCDA), was attended by hundreds of youths who 
gathered at Memack Hall, at Adeponle Street, Amukoko, for a tutorial 
on the danger of drug abuse.

And to add spice to the event thick, a top staffer of the National 
Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Principal Staff Officer (PSO) 
Jonah Achema was on hand to anchor the event. Achema did not only 
speak on the categorises of drugs as illicit, he also carefully 
enumerated the dangers therein for consumers.

He specifically zeroed down his talk on cannabis, otherwise known as 
marijuana or Indian hemp, heroine, cocaine and hallucinogenic among 
others. According to him, these set of drugs are prohibited by law 
because they have the capability to go straight into brain and start 
dictating for the user, thereby giving him/ her false feeling of 
pleasure. According the stages in which a person can migrate to the 
world of drug abuser include: experimentation, occasional and 
craving, which he state is the worst stage.

The narcotic expert therefore advised that the best way to stay off 
drug is not to experiment at all, stressing that; "once there is a 
contact that is the end".

He noted that conditions that bring about drug abuse are; when not 
medically necessary; any drug prohibited by law and if any drug is 
taken outside prescription.

On the implications, Achema stressed that since some of the drugs are 
depressant while others are stimulant, they have far reaching 
negative effects on the health, performance and social behavior that 
could lead to insanity even as he disclosed that "an average drug 
abuser is a criminal".

He praised the organiser of the event and assured that the agency 
would always partner in such campaigns through its 'Drug Demand 
Reduction Department".

"What we normally do is once there is a platform for us to come and 
discuss drugs, we don't hesitate to do it. Once we get invitation to 
come, we are duty bound to honour it", he said, adding that the 
agency has on several occasions taken drug campaign across a wide 
segment of the society.

The workshop was interactive and it afforded participants opportunity 
to ask critical questions and seek clarifications just as they were 
shown the raw specimens of some hard drugs for identification so that 
in case they come across them, they could easily recognise them and 
resist any temptation for experimentation.

"I gained a lot. Previously, I used to think that alcohol is good for 
the body, according to some scientific facts. But coming down here 
today, I learnt that alcohol, to an extent, is not good for the body. 
I also learnt about nicotine that is present in tobacco. This 
information, I will never forget them," Moses Ihiabe told Daily Independent.

Also barring his mind, Timothy Anietie disclosed that event has 
completely changed has perception about the drugs generally.

"I normally take coffee during examinations but coming to this place 
today, I have learnt that taking coffee has a side effect. I have 
made up my mind not to take it anymore and I hop share the messages 
with my friends" he stated.

Miss Victoria Friday, also said: "I have gained a lot of things like 
abstaining from drugs. I will try and preach the message".

A religious leader, Elder Patrick Ike of the Church of God Mission 
promised to sponsor the next edition saying that such programme could 
not have come at a better time.

"I'm more than happy with what I saw here today, it is very nice.

A forum like this will go a long way.  I'm ready to sponsor the next 
edition. It is really encouraging" he said, advising that the 
campaign should be aired on television and taken to every nook and 
cranny of the society including places of worship.

Publisher of the paper, Ndukwe Edward said the campaign train would 
not stop until it has gone round all the local governments in the 
state. He also stated that it would also hit the streets.

"This is the first stage. The second seminar is coming soon. After 
that we will now go to the streets for a rally. Thereafter we will 
hit other local governments. Our target is the whole Lagos State", he said.

On the motivation behind the project he said: "I am an 
environmentally conscious person. So drug abuse is not peculiar to 
Ajeromi- Ifelodun alone, same thing in Mushin, Shomolu et cetera and 
having known the consequences, we are determined that all these drug 
related crimes are reduced".
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart