By Rasaq Adebayo
Stakeholders have harped on continual sensitization programmes as they decried the rate of youths’ involvement in drug abuse, causing mental illness for them.
The stakeholders, including the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nigeria Police, and Psychiatric officials emphasised the need for constant sensitisation programmes.
They said this at a sensitisation programme organised in Ejigbo, Lagos by a community-based organisation – The Legends Support 4 Community Initiative – in commemoration of the 2023 World Mental Health Day.
Addressing the students at the programme, the Chief Superintendent of Narcotics (CSN), National Drug Laws and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Lagos State Command, Mrs. Mulilkat Dick, warned that drug abuse is very dangerous to mental health.
Dick said the effect of hard drugs and drug abuse in society transcends the user alone, stating that the entire community suffers its consequence.
She therefore urged the students not to get involved in any form of drug abuse and hard drugs.
“Drug abuse is not an option for you,” she warned, stating that the effects it will have on individuals who take hard drugs and abuse drugs will be hazardous.
“The social effects of hard drug and abuse are that it leads to family disunity, truancy, cultism in schools, prostitution and destitution and homelessness.”
Apart from damaging the teeth, skin, and lungs, she said drug abuse has increased mental illness among the youths.
She, therefore, urged the youths to avoid drug abuse, telling them to encourage their friends who have drug problems to seek help; report drug peddlers to appropriate authorities, and assist law enforcement agencies to curb drug peddling and abuse.
Also speaking, a psychiatrist consultant with the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Mrs. Funmilayo Akinola, disclosed that there has been an increase in the number of youths with mental health challenges.
She said the high rate of mentally derailed persons in society is a result of hard drug and drug abuse.
She decried the trend in society urging the youths to shun the habit which could affect their mental health.
The Ejigbo Police Station Divisional Police Officer, CSP Mariam Shonubi in her presentation decried the rising case of cultism and other related activities in various communities across Lagos State.
Shonubi related the cause of such disgruntled endeavours to the effect of hard drug and drug abuse.
The police officer urged youths to desist from all criminal activities that will be detrimental to individual and societal development, warning that anyone caught in a despicable act will face the full wrath of the law.
She explained the effort of the Nigeria Police in curbing drug abuse in the country, urging the parents to be vigilant on their children.
Speaking on the reason for holding the annual event, the President of the Legends for Community Initiative, Comrade Sulaimon Ijaoba said the organisation took it as part of its contribution towards curbing drug abuse and having a society devoid of mentally derailed persons.
He said the programme was one of the ways his organisation was canvassing against drug abuse and the hard drug being taken by youths.
Ijaoba said the organisation will continue to partner with all stakeholders in the fight against hard drug and drug abuse in society.