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SoFT, NDLEA march against drug abuse, warn of dire consequences

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As the world marked the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking 2021, a Foundation, Salvaging Our Future Today (SoFT), on Saturday, led a march in Lagos against drug abuse.

June 26 every year is a day set aside by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to raise awareness worldwide against drug abuse and illicit trafficking.

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The theme for this year is ‘Share facts about drugs, save lives.’

According to the President of the Foundation, Mr. Joseph Obi, who led the march, the theme aims at improving the understanding of the word problem, and at fostering greater international cooperation for countering its impact on health, governance and security.

He said: “It is no longer an assumption that drug and other forms of criminal activities have a symbiotic relationship. As drug abuse increases, crime also increases with the need to support the very expensive drug habit. The instant alteration of the mind, which occurs at the intake of any hard drug, leaves the individual ready to do and undo.”

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National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) officials participated in the march, which started at the General Hospital end of Ikeja and terminated at the Alausa seat of the Lagos State Government.

Obi commended government agencies, individuals and organisations that have been working to tackle drug abuse, saying that the Foundation decided to boost the campaign with well-thought-out action plans.

He said: “We at SoFT Foundation have taken up the gauntlet to join the fight against drug abuse. In doing this, we have adopted the preemptive method of “catching them young”, by taking our campaigns to secondary schools, termed ‘School to School Campaign.’

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“In order to reach a wider audience and in commemoration of the International Day Against drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, we arranged to hold a ‘Road Show’ on the 26th of June, 2021, for the enlightenment and sensitisation of the general public on the dangers of drug abuse. “

The Chief Operating Officer of Foundation, Mrs Nkechi Ibeneme, lamented that drug abuse and its consequences had assumed a pandemic proportion on individuals and society at large.

“We are set out to inform, educate and rehabilitate victims of drug abuse,” she said.

The group displayed a large banner with the Inscription, “Drugs and you. Your future is in your hands…say no to drugs.”

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The group distributed flyers that educated Nigerians on types of drugs, legal and illegal drugs.

Ibeneme said it was one of the many action plans adopted to inform and educate Nigerians.

One of the flyers read: “Legal drugs are socially acceptable drugs which use is permitted by the law for treatment of disease and recreational purpose. Illegal drugs on the other hand are those drugs that are psychotropic in nature, which is neither socially acceptable nor permitted by laws. Legal measures have been taken to prohibit them.

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“Anybody, therefore, caught with these drugs, is liable to a jail sentence. Identified illegal drugs include cocaine, heroin, designer drugs, cannabis etc”

Among others, it identified causes of drug abuse or addiction as peer pressure, hero-worship, curiosity, stress and depression.

“With happening around the world in recent times, the future may seem bleak, but, surely, there is a future and that future is in your hands! Preserve it by saying no to drugs and keep away from people who
refuse to say no, it stated.

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