The Save our Women and Girls Foundation (SOU&G) recently organised a seminar on drug abuse for students of select schools in Lagos State with the aim of educating them on the effects of drug abuse and how to avoid being addicted to drugs.
The seminar tagged ‘Let’s Do Drugs’, featured presentations from experts in the health sector, as well as a panel discussion, where school heads and other stakeholders shared ideas on how to curb the menace among youths.
In her remarks, the Executive Director of the foundation, Ambassador Unyime-Ivy King said the event is part of activities making the International Day of Families, adding that the foundation decided to focus on drug abuse because of its negative effects on the wellbeing of families.
In her presentation, a representative of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mrs. Julie Ugwu, said to live a healthy life, one must avoid habits like eating wrongly, eating late, living in dirty or unhealthy environment, avoiding hard drugs and drugs misuse.
She stressed that a healthy nation consists of healthy citizens and appealed to youths to shun actions and habits that will affect their health, thereby affecting productivity, and ultimately affecting the development of the country.
Ugwu advised youths to avoid stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens and other substances that when taken, affect the body functions, she added that when anyone is introducing something strange to them, they should check the substance out first and confirm from an elder.
On how to avoid drug abuse, she urged them to be equipped with information, engage in other productive activities, build their self-esteem, be committed to their school work or their jobs and obey rules and regulations. She also advised them to talk to an elderly person when there is a problem, encourage those who have a problem to seek professional help and to report abusers to the authorities.
In his paper, ‘The Effect of Drug Abuse on Families in Relation to Climate Change’, Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi identified climate change as the major cause of drug abuse, saying that when a country or city is hit by natural disasters like earthquake, tsunami or fire, the affected people resort to drugs as a way out of depression.
According to him, tobacco is the highest killer drug in the world, followed by alcohol, among other drugs that are harmful to the users, thereby affecting other members of the family and community.
To reduce the effects of climate change in the environment, Majekodunmi called for more focus on clean energy.
On her part, Mrs. Chichi Umeseaka, whose paper was titled ‘Drugs: What They Don’t Tell You’, said most teens engage in drug abuse out of curiosity, peer pressure, boredom and they feel it is a fast way to network, genetics, low self-esteem, stress, depression, advanced lifestyle, among others.
On the effects of drugs on teens and their families, she said drugs will definitely affect the academic performance of the teen, adding that once academic performance is affected, the youth may drop out of school.
“One of the major consequences of drug addiction is its effect on the brain of teenagers. It causes brain abnormalities it slows their thinking and impairs learning and memory in most cases leading to loss of memory coupled with other life-long brain issues.”
On how to seek for help, Umeseaka said victims should talk to a trusted counsellor; be willing to receive help, adding, “rehabilitation without God is very futile; self-determination is the key to your recovery; don’t relapse, keep pushing for sobriety.”