NIGERIANS have been urged to join hands with security agencies to tackle increasing challenges of drug abuse among youths.
Chairman of the Nigeria Red Cross Society, Anambra State Chapter, Professor Peter Katchy made the call while speaking with journalists in Awka.
He stated that illicit drug use and dependency among young people is harming socio-economic life of the society and threatening the future of the country.
According to a recent survey by the Federal Government, over 14 million Nigerians abuse illicit drugs.
The number represents more than 14 percent of the country’s population who are between 15 and 64 years.
Professor Katchy explained that the use of illicit drugs by children and youths has lasting adverse effects on their mental and physical development, stating that drug abuse can impact the brain’s ability to function in the short term as well as prevent proper growth and development later in life which creates various problems for families, communities and the entire society including cultism, armed robbery, prostitution, increase in number of school dropouts, indecent dressing even among married women in the name of fashion even in churches, youth homicides and suicides.
He called on the Ministry of Youths and Sports to set up well funded agency for mass reorientation, character reformation and rehabilitation of children and youths to fill the increasing gap created by poor family upbringing of many children while the Film Censor Board should take more proactive measures to censor films that promote negative values.
Professor Katchy urged families to strive to inculcate strong moral values in their children while security agencies should clamdown on those who abuse gender dressing.
Also speaking, a medical practitioner, Dr. David Onyebuchukwu urged parents to closely monitor activities of their children and their friends to protect them against negative peer group influence that could lead to illicit drug use and attendant consequences.
BY SUNNY A. DAVID