The Rivers State Government, on Thursday, advised secondary school principals in the state to set up drug abuse counselling units in their schools to combat the social menace.
The Deputy Governor, Ngozi Odu, gave the advice at a town hall organised in Port Harcourt by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Port Harcourt Zone ‘N’, in collaboration with the Rivers State Government.
The sensitisation on the War Against Drug Abuse was organised for principals of secondary schools in the state.
Mrs Odu, represented by her Senior Special Assistant on Administration, Nye Oyi, encouraged the principals to embrace the campaign by the agency “to save the lives of young people in school”.
She also urged them to ensure that they put all the necessary facilities in place to enable them to identify drug abuse early in the day for their quick intervention.
‘Drug abuse fuels terrorism’
The Zonal Commander of the agency, Anthonia Edeh, said the essence of the sensitisation was to collectively map out strategies that would stem the increasing use of narcotic drugs and other substances of abuse by the youths.
Ms Edeh, who was also the convener of the event, said that drug abuse and illicit trafficking posed a significant threat to the socio-economic well-being of every family, community and nation.
According to her, drug abuse has been identified as one of the major factors that fuel the rise in crime rates and several security breaches, including terrorism, banditry and kidnapping, among others.
“The devastating effects of drug abuse and illicit trafficking are often associated with anarchy, violence and under development.
“Everyone should be concerned about the drug scourge because a lot of families are suffering its consequences.
“People at the grassroots should know and understand that drug abuse is bad and inimical to public health.
“Having identified the circumstances of drug abuse, we can no longer be in denial that we did not have a drug problem in our society, the question now becomes, what is the way forward?” she said.
Ms Edeh said that NDLEA in its proactive nature set up an advocacy programme, War Against Drug Abuse, to curb the menace of drug abuse in the society.
She advised school managements to find a way of engaging the students by organising educational programmes, like debates, quiz competitions, sporting activities, like football, basketball, other general games and the establishment of War Against Drug Abuse clubs
Ms Edeh promised that the agency would partner the state Ministry of Education to train counsellors as well as create evidence-based school programmes, positive school and classroom environment.
In a remark, Innocent Umesi, the state president, All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools, urged his members to key into the campaign and join the NDLEA in evolving a drug-free society.
The NDLEA state Commander, Ahmed Mamuda, urged the public to support NDLEA by providing useful information to help in the arrest and prosecution of drug dealers in the state and the nation at large.
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