Ogun first lady tasks government, Nigerians on drug abuse
In commemoration of this year’s United Nations Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, wife of Ogun State governor, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun, has said achieving a drug-abuse free society is a collective effort that should not be left for the government alone.
At a Town Hall Meeting organised by her Office, Ajose Foundation and Ogun State Drug Control Committee, Ministry of Health (OSDCC), she stressed the need for individuals and institutions to jointly handle the menace for a better and secured future for all.
The event themed “Share Facts on Drugs, Save Lives” was held at the Oba’s Complex, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta. Mrs. Abiodun emphasised the need to focus on information and communication, considering the social media age, noting that many of the young people mirror the actions of their peers online and model their lives after celebrities that they see in music videos and movies.
“Many of these platforms are full of depictions of drug use which is linked to riches and a fashionable lifestyle. The duty of policy makers is to use these platforms to creatively communicate facts about drugs and the danger it poses to the lives of those who engage in their use. We need to leverage the power of the media to communicate a powerful message on illicit drugs.
“One of the aims of this year’s theme of sharing facts is also to combat misinformation about drug use. There are many who think that certain drugs give them boldness and a false sense of confidence. The effect of this is that many of our youths, some as young as 13 to 15 years of age, buy into these lies and start taking drugs early and they become drug addicts even before age 20. Now is the time to focus on more efficient means of reaching our people where they are and in the language they understand,” the governor’s wife said.
In her address, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker, said some 35 million people were estimated to suffer from drug use disorders, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) survey 2018. She noted that youths are the most vulnerable.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Adesanya Ayinde, in his remarks, listed some of the commonly abused drugs and unconventional substances as nicotine, marijuana, codeine, cocaine, heroine, tramadol, morphine, alcohol, glue, fumes from pit latrine and mixtures of different kinds.
The event had in attendance representatives of youth organisations, Nigeria Automobile Technicians Association, market women and community development associations, among others.
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