By OKOSUN DENNIS
The need to boost anti-drug war received impetus on Thursday as the Drug Salvation Foundation, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) made a public presentation of a book: “Student’s handbook on Drug Abuse Awareness and Prevention for Drug Free Clubs in Nigerian Schools,” in Lagos.
The Chairman of the Drug Salvation Foundation, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, who promised to make free copies of the book available to students said, “We are determined to do our best to make our children drug-free.
“The threat of drugs is unbelievable. Drug tears families apart and this illicit trade is driven by strong cartels who are only concerned about their selfish interest.”
Acknowledging the fact that rich and influential drug cartels entice the youths with huge money to traffick drugs for them added that the earlier the youths are educated about the danger, infuse it in the curriculum, the better for our youths.
He added that efforts towards sending drug barons out of the criminal trade will become brighter when children are educated to know the dangers of drug use.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) used the opportunity of the book presentation to call on schools, parents and stakeholders to support the fight against drug abuse and trafficking.
It was learnt that the Agency in partnership with the foundation will provide free copies of the book to students as a way of addressing the challenge of drug and substance abuse in schools.
Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (retd) who commended the initiative said that schools, parents and stakeholders should be actively involved in the war against drugs.
According to Abdallah, “the campaign against illicit drugs will be very effective and also get down to the grass root when stakeholders are involved. Drug trafficking is a serious crime and we are improving the capacity of officers, civil society organisations, schools and parents to properly educate children and youths who are more vulnerable to drug abuse.
Represented by the director of Drug Demand Reduction of the Agency, Mr. Baba Husseini promised to support similar programmes embarked upon by stakeholders.
The book reviewer, Dr. Tony Rapo identified drugs as a major factor that tears families apart. In his words, “the problem of drugs has led to the breakdown of families yet the situation appears endless. We are here for what I consider the most important aspect of the war against drugs which is drug abuse prevention.
He commended the NDLEA for seizing drugs and prosecuting traffickers but should stop new addicts from taking drugs noting that was the best way to a drug-free society.
The representative of the German Consul General, Mr, Dominik Muller said that Germany has been partnering with Nigeria in the fight against drugs in the aspect of capacity building and use of dogs in drug detection.
Meanwhile, the President of the Drug Salvation Foundation, Mr. Wilson Ighodalo in a chat with National Daily said the essence of the book was to enable school children know the A,B,C of drugs abuse.
Explaining what inspired him to research on drugs, said it started about six years ago when he visited a rehabilitation centre and saw how some youths were chained down due to addiction.
“I knew there was a problem and I decided to research into it with a view to sensitizing members of the public about drugs abuses especially the youths who are much more vulnerable,” he added.
“Drug abuse is no longer a foreign problem. It is fast becoming a major public health issue in Nigeria. Substance abuse constitutes socioeconomic and cultural threat in our society today.
One of the students present at the presentation, Nwokolo Benedicta said she has been better informed about drug addiction. She noted that with the book, she would be able to educate other students to shun drugs.
Present at the launch which took place at the International Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Islandare students of Excel College, Lagos, members of the diplomatic community, members of the celebrity drug-free club and other stakeholders.