ENUGU 2ND IN HARD DRUG USE IN SOUTHEAST AS STATE GOVT DIRECTS ESTABLISHMENT OF DRUG FREE CLUB IN SEC SCHS

REPORTER: CHRISTIAN NWANGENE

Enugu State Government has directed the establishment of Drug-Free Club in all secondary schools in the state.

The Special Assistant to the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi on Drugs and Narcotics, Mr. Chidi Egbuogu, made this known in a statement to mark the 2022 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Mr. Egbuogu, in the statement, explains that the establishment of the Drug-Free club is part of the Drug Abuse Prevention Education Programme and strategies that will help safeguard the students and school environment from illicit drug activities.

The statement points out that the government directive is an outcome of the maiden Town Hall Meeting held across the three Senatorial districts of the state.

According to the statement, Enugu State Government is focused more on preventive than curative efforts against drug abuse.

“Against this foregoing, the Enugu State Government through maiden programme (Town Hall meeting) held between February and April 2021 across the three Senatorial Zones of Enugu State, through the office of the Special Assistant to the Governor on Drug and Narcotics, which becomes imperative to begin the implementation of action plans based on the general consensus of the stakeholder.

“Undoubtedly, there is a grave danger if urgent and deliberate efforts are not made to protect the young people against illicit involvement in drugs and other social vices due to their susceptibility.

“His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had directed that Drug Abuse Prevention Education Programme purposely designed to prevent the young people in Primary and Secondary Schools, and future generation from needless pains and agony of illicit drug involvement.

“Preventing drug abuse is usually a more successful strategy than treating drug addiction that is already active.

“To further strengthen this evidence –base approach, it is the mandate of His Excellency that Drug-free club be establish and inaugurate in all the Secondary Schools in Enugu State,” the statement noted.

The statement further observes with regret the expansionist drug trade and use in Nigeria.

It particularly refers to records that indicate that Enugu State ranks second among south east states in hard drug use, hence the need for the state government to take decisive and proactive steps in addressing the menace.

“World Drug Report (2018) reveals that Nigeria is facing a potential supply drive expansion of market with production of methamphetamine (popularly known “Mkpuru Mmiri”); and manufacture of opiod at the highest levels ever recorded.

“According to the findings of the National Household Survey (2018), the drug use prevalence rate in Enugu State is 16.3% (370,000 persons).

“This figure shows that Imo State is the zone with the highest drug use prevalence rate of 18.1% (500,000 persons) closely followed by Enugu State.

“These finding are striking and call for urgent intervention to mitigate the negative consequences on the health, socio-economic and security of Enugu State,” the statement indicated.

The statement links the use of hard drugs and substance abuse to the rising wave of crimes, health challenges and anti-social behaviours in the Nigerian State, including rape, violence, mental disorder and job loss.

“Substance abuse affects and cost the individual, the family and the entire community in significant, measureable ways including loss of productivity and unemployability, impairement in physical and mental health, reduced quality of life, increased crime, increased violence, abuse and neglect of children, dependence on non-family support systems for survival and expenses for treatment.

The statement continues “to address the complex problems associated with illicit drug in our society is to adopt preventive mechanism.
Preventing those things that will make young people to start using drug will lead to raising well adjusted individusls with the abilities not to get involved in other vices.”

According to the statement, Enugu State Government will collaborate with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the International Society for Substance Use Prevention professionals (ISSUP) and the Post Primary School Management Board (PPSMB), in the preventive measures against drug use and Trafficking in the state.

“In response to this worrisome phenomenon that is lawfully incongruous with this administration aspirations for its citizenry, the State Government deems it fitting to collaborate with National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), International Society for Substance Use Prevention professionals (ISSUP), Post Primary School Management Board (PPSMB), and among others, due to their critical roles in drug prevention.

“Most recently the Enugu State Government donated to NDLEA Enugu State Command with four Sienna Buses to aid them in their operational activities and knowing fully that abuse of psychoactive drugs is responsible for crimes, terrorism, insurgency, rape, kidnapping, mental disorder, untimely death, assassinations, family disintegration and numerous problems in families and society as a whole.

“With this assistance, the State Government is given to the NDLEA who has the officers and men with adequate professional skill to reduce the problems to the barest minimum by the grace of God, the situation can still be redeemed and we shall win the war,” the statement said.

The theme for the 2022 Internatonal Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is “Addressing drug challenges in health and humanitarian Crises.”

EDITED BY CHUKWUBUIKE MADU

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