Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State says drug abuse and illicit trafficking constitute a threat to the nation’s democracy and development.
Ajimobi, represented by the Commissioner for Health, Azeez Adeduntan, said this on Tuesday in Ibadan at a stakeholders’ conference to mark the 2018 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
The conference was organised by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency in collaboration with the state government.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the theme for the year was tagged: “Listen First’’.
He said: “This day was set aside by the UN to take stock of actions and programmes targeted toward ridding the family, community country and the entire globe of drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
“Nigeria is a key player in global drug trafficking and abuse, being aware of its collateral consequences on our nascent democracy, national development, security, politics and corporate image in comity of nations.
“The siege of insurgency and violent crime facing the nation makes it imperative for strategic plan and actions beyond the status quo to be deployed to rid this nation of drug abuse and illicit trafficking.’’
The governor reiterated the commitment of the state in the fight against drug abuse and the illegal cultivation of cannabis sativa in the state.
Ajimobi said: “I am aware of the collaboration between the NDLEA and various MDAs in ridding Oyo State of the twin evils of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.
“It is no gain-saying that the cultivation of Indian hemp is very high in the state but the partnership with the NDLEA state command is yielding positive results and to this end our government will continue the partnership in providing public awareness and enlightenment campaign programmes for various groups.
“Destroyed Indian hemp plantation in the state has been substituted with growing of cash crops.”
Ajimobi urged parents to talk to their children about drug abuse and its attendant problems early.
The NDLEA Commander in Oyo State, Omolade Faboyede, said that substance abuse continues to be a reoccurring global public health problem.
According to her, illicit drug trafficking continues to foster money laundering and acts of terrorism and corruption.
She said: “The world report of 2017 reveals a showing pattern of relationship between drug, crime and terrorism.
“There is the need to focus on prevention initiatives to limit the development of problems associated with drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
“The theme for this year’s celebration is evidence based drug abuse prevention with the slogan “Listen First.
“There is need to listen to children and youths as the first step to help them grow healthy and safe.”
Faboyede said that just as parents would do almost anything to keep their children safe they should also take it upon themselves to protect them from drug abuse by giving them anti-drug education early.
According to her parents play important role in providing children with not only with moral education but also explaining the consequences of drug abuse to them.
He said: “Everyday over 500,000 bottles of codeine are consumed by young Nigerians across the country.
“Other highly abused substances are tramadol, rohypnol, marijuana and other options.
“More shocking are substances like Lipton soaked with regal-gin, dry pawpaw leaves, hypo in Lacasera drink, menthylated spirit in codeine or coke, cannabis in regal gin.
“Their common code names include `skurshy,’ ‘zobo’, ‘cocoline’ and others.’’
A pharmacist, Olukayode Egbon, said that given the increased incidence of drug abuse among the youths, it is important to listen to them first.
Egbon said: “This initiative aims at increasing support for science-based prevention of drug use.
“When parents listen to their children, they are able to strengthen the relationship with them and gain their confidence.
“Parents must be aware of the widespread availability of harmful drugs and must be able to talk to their children about it.’’