By Miftaudeen Raji
Against the backdrop of the abysmal proliferation of drugs and addiction among youths, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) are seeking the collaboration of communities and organizations in the fight against drugs in Nigeria.
According to the 2021 World Drug Report, released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), around 275 million people used drugs worldwide, while over 36 million people suffered from drug use disorders.
A 2018 National Drug Use Survey revealed that Nigeria has around 14.3 million drug users of which close to 3 million suffered from a drug use disorder.
Risk factors of drug consumption are higher and the damage to users is better imagined. This makes it imperative for all stakeholders to explore all avenues to educate young people on the adverse effect of drug abuse in society in a bid to safeguard public health.
As part of an initiative to educate young people, the Lagos chapter of the youth council in partnership with Imeyreach foundation held a youth sensitization programme tagged, “My Mental Health, My Sustainability,” in the Agege area of Lagos.
Addressing the youths, the event on the panel session, a mental health Psychologist from Imeyreach foundation, Oluwanifesimi Opawale as well as the Area Commander of NDLEA) in Agege, Ikeja, Mr Isaac Unuene.
Unuene noted that community collaboration with NGOs, government agencies, groups and individuals in reorienting Nigerian youths against drugs is necessary to collectively win the fight against drugs.
He said collaboration is critical because NDLEA alone cannot handle the amount of work required to cut the source of drug supply by arresting the distributors in society.
The Vice-Chairman, NYCN Lagos West Senatorial district Comrade Ademosu, Comrade Jamiu Ademosu said the Council would continue in its strive to safeguard the sanity of young people by bringing them together for education on mental health and sustainability.
The programme was attended by youths from across 28 local government areas of Lagos, and some selected youths were endorsed as ambassadors to champion the cause of youth mental health in their various communities.
According to Ademosu, over 170 youths applied for the ambassadorial role, but with a thorough selection process, 25 were successfully shortlisted and trained on mental health and drug abuse to work in society.
He advised Nigerian youths to shun any form of drug that can affect their mental health toward building a better Nigerian society.