Group Tasks FG on Control of Drug Abuse 

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

The federal government has been urged to strengthen policies and control on ‘over-the-counter-drugs’ to check addiction and abuse among youths.

A group under the aegis of Association of Professional Counselors of Nigeria (APROCON) made the call yesterday, during a sensitisation programme on drug and substance abuse in collaboration with Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.

During the sensitisation which took place at council’s headquarters, the group revealed that if dispensation of “over-the-counter-drugs”  were strictly moderated, it will aide in tackling drug-related crimes.

The guest speaker, a lecturer with the Department of Education, Guidance and Counseling, University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Princess Eke, expressed the association’s readiness in addressing illicit drug trend in the country.

She commended the LGA Chairman, Erastus Awortu on the collaboration, urging government and individuals to join hands towards securing a drug-free society.

According to her, most drugs including regular pain killers were on daily basis being abused for various reasons hence, the need to strictly focus on moderation and dispensation of commonly used medicines and analgesics.

The university Don lamented high rate abuse and hazards associated with illicit drug, alcoholic beverages and caffeine and advised young people to abstain from engaging in drug dependent lifestyles.

“In the United kingdom and some other European countries, there is that control. You enter a pharmacy to get a regular pain killer, the pharmacist limits you to a certain number of packs or sachet you are allowed to buy per time.

“We have always advised young people to abstain from Illicit drugs because rehabilitation is rather a very difficult stage in the life of an abuser.

“It is however, imperative to note that the abusers are also a part and parcel of the society so we will continue to adopt various interventions to help salvage their plights,” she said.

Another lecturer from the department  of Educational Psychology, from same University, Prof Chikwe Agbakwuru, urged parents to improve on parenting skills to check drug abuse in young people.

Attributing increased divorce rate and poor parenting to trending drug related concerns, Agbakwuru urged parents to build cordial relationships with their wards and offer help in struggle with life’s challenges.

On his part, the council boss, Mr Erastus Awortu thanked the group for striving towards a drug-free society, adding that his administration would continue to support programs geared towards securing a better future for young people.

He noted that the progress of a nation is dependent on viability of its youths who were seen to be a major national asset.

The council Chairman therefore, urged youths in the area to refrain from Illicit drugs, and other unwholesome habits capable of ruining their health and well-being.

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