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International Day against Drug Abuse

On Sunday, June 26,2016, the world will be marking the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The day was set aside by the United Nations to sensitise the public on the dangers posed by substance abuse. The theme for this year’s commemoration is ‘Listen First’. It admonishes parents to listen more and seek help for children before and when they are hooked on hard drugs. According to United Nations report, the value of illegal drugs traded around the world is put at more than $322billion yearly.
Definitely, drug abuse and trafficking is a problem and major deterrent to humanity and the well being of the youth in particular, even as it poses greater problems to the socio-economic and political stability of any nation. To underline the problem, the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, described substance abuse and the illicit trafficking of drugs as an evil in any society. Incidentally, substance abuse often includes problems with impulse control and impulsive behaviour.
Furthermore, there are cases in which criminal or antisocial behaviour occurs when the person is under the influence of a drug. Statististics reveal that there are more than 120 million users of hard drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and other synthetic drugs.
There is no denying the fact that drug abuse and the illicit trafficking of substances is a worldwide malaise that has far-reaching consequences because of its direct and indirect relations to crime, corruption and international terrorism. The strong nexus between the traffickers, the terrorist organisations and the money launderers, have allowed this monster to become a magnet for luring people to engage in crimes and mayhem.
In Nigeria, evidence reveals that many youths are becoming drug addicts. Before now, the country used to be a transit point but recently it has assumed the position and destination for hard and illicit drugs. With a population of some 170 million people, Nigeria has become a thriving market for the consumption of illicit drugs. Due to new technologies, which have improved the mass production of some of these drugs, many of them have become very cheap and therefore affordable.
There is no denying that substance abuse and the new trend is becoming a significant medical, psychological, social and economic problem facing the country. More worrisome is the increasing number of secondary school and tertiary institution students taken to consuming hard drugs. Other groups of abusers are drivers, conductors, civil servants and artistes.
The consequences have been extreme violence, gang rape, drug induced suicide, paranoia, poor academic performance, school dropout, poor health condition and indebtedness.  It also bears repeating that drug abuse is associated with anti social vices such as cultism, thuggery, racketeering, and armed robbery.
We are therefore calling on the authorities totake appropriate in  combating  the epidemic of hard drug abuse among Nigerians, especially youths. However, this requires the keen involvement of parents in the educational progress of their children through effective collaboration with the school.
In all, agencies like the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency,NDLEA,National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), should increase the tempo of their effectiveness by investing even more on technological devices that can enhance its ability to detect hard drug traffickers or consumers to frustrate the use of hard drugs in the society.

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