The alumni association of the International Visitors’ Leadership Programme (IVLP) of the U.S Consulate in Nigeria has held a sensitisation exercise for secondary school students in Lagos State on drug abuse prevention.
The two-day programme, themed, ‘Combatting Drug Addiction and Crime Prevention in Public Secondary Schools,’ ended on Friday.
The group said the project is part of their contribution to developing the local communities.
The IVLP is an international exchange programme organised to foster mutual understanding between the U.S. and other nations through short-term visits to the U.S.
The first day of the sensitization programme held at Obele Community Senior High School, Surulere, on Thursday.
On Friday, the group took the programme to Ansarudeen Comprehensive High school, Okota, with students from Okota High School, Ijeshatedo Senior Grammar School, and Ireakari Grammar School in attendance.
Adetoun Tade, the IVLP president, Lagos chapter, said the group is committed to making as many impacts as possible, especially at the grassroots level.
According to her, the community impact programme is another one of the mentorship programmes that the group organises every quarter for secondary school students.
Mrs Tade said the theme of the programme was conceived as a result of the alarming increase of substance abuse and crime among the youth.
“We now have students selling drugs to other students, you find knives and different harmful things on students and you’ll be like, these are supposed to be kids,” she said.
“You realise they even know more than adults. When you talk to them, they tell you it’s an uncle or brother on their street that introduced drugs to them. You realise that they are being introduced to these things by the adults they look up to and respect.
“We hope to have more enlightened students at the end of this programme. We’ve taken attendance and we hope to follow this up and check on them. We also believe that word of mouth is very powerful. As the negative motions are coming from some people, these ones that have become informed and enlightened will impact some others.”
The students were taken through the basics of drug abuse as well as the causes and consequences of abusing substances.
They were also enlightened on the consequences of keeping bad company, engaging in criminal activities and getting involved in unlawful sexual activities as well as the negative results like unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.
Remy Shittu, the leader of Isolo local council, said it is essential to begin to inform and enlighten the youth about the consequence of substance abuse right from the secondary school level or even before, as it would be wrong to assume teenagers are too young to use drugs.
“On Wednesday, a junior secondary school student was caught selling Indian hemp,” Mr Shittu said.
“The grandmother gave her Indian hemp to sell in school. It has gotten that bad. We cannot just sit back and allow their lives to get ruined. We need to keep telling them, we need to encourage them and enlighten them that they don’t need drugs to function properly.”