The National Coordinator Fight Against Drug and Substance Abuse Foundation (FADAAF), Mr Ibie Peter at the weekend warned against drug abuse and it’s destructive effects on its victims, stressing that urgent steps must be taken to curb the rising proliferation of gateway drug use.
Speaking at a Colloquium that was held to commemorate the 2021 United Nations Day against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking, he argued that there was an urgent need to literally shut the gates against gateway drugs by engaging relevant stakeholders with a view to sensitizing them on the effects and dangers of substance abuse, especially gateway drugs.
Gateway drugs, he stated, are introductory potentially habit-forming substances that are fairly accessible, essentially opening the pathway to more severe drug use as time goes on. Examples include alcohol, marijuana, and codeine. Regrettably, these easy-to-get, easy-to-use drugs familiarize young users with the first feelings of intoxication.
Not surprisingly, over time, as young, vulnerable users gain confidence and they go through the ‘gates’ and begin to experiment with stronger and potentially more dangerous substances. This invariably leads to more profound abuse of substances over time, engendering long and short-term effects on the body.
Speaking further, he argued that the Covid-19 pandemic and economic downturn has increased the usage of substance abuse, inexorably triggering a Mental health crisis that has been underreported as a result of sociological and cultural reasons.
He consequently advised that there is an urgent need to improve access to sustainable therapeutic care as well as the creation of actionable awareness in tackling the menace of gateway drugs.
He further urged the Federal Government, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, and other relevant agencies to collaborate with third sector bodies such as FADAAF with a view to providing long-lasting strategies that would attenuate the potential adverse consequences of gateway drug use in particular and drug abuse in general.
Present at the event were Goodness Bassey, Convenor of Cracked.Ng.com, Oluwagbemi Kore of SpacedOut, and Bala Dan Fulani of CodeineControl, among others dignitaries from the Diplomatic Corps, Civil Society, and Third Sector Groups.