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Dame Emmanuella Fashola (R) addressing the students during the One-Day Awareness Workshop on Substance Abuse, Addiction.
Cross section of students during the One-Day Awareness Workshop on Substance Abuse, Addiction and Mental Illness at Ikeja, Lagos.
Jul 6, 2012 - Emmanuella Fashola, Others Counsel Lagos Students Against Drug Abuse
Lagos State First Lady, Dame Emmanuella Abimbola Fashola joined drug experts recently to sensitise thousands of public school pupils in Lagos State on the evils of drug abuse, addiction and the consequence mental illness.
She took time out to teach against the menace of drug abuse at a one-day awareness workshop on substance abuse, addiction and mental illness organised by the State Ministry of Youth and Social Development.
The wife of the State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), who was accompanied by the Psychiatric Consultant from the University Teaching Hospital, Ibadan, Dr. Victor Makanju, counselled the youths against the abuse of drug while expressing concerns caused by the growing number of adolescent users engaged in the act.
She said it is a thing of joy that the sensitisation is happening today, calling on the teeming youths to desist from smoking Indian hemp and drinking alcohol if they expect to have better futures.
Dame Emmanuella posited that boys as young as six year-old were exposed to drug abuse by close relatives sending them on errand to buy the drugs.
She however challenged the students to educate people around them, especially their illiterate parents to stop selling or engaging in drug dealings.
"As a good student, choose now to be an ambassador for a drug free society, where people will have to visit doctors if they must take drug to heal their sickness. Don't ever join bad gang of smokers. Let us inculcate the idea of seeing a doctor whenever one is ill instead of applying self medication, which of course is another form of drug abuse. If the doctor does not prescribe drug for you, please don't take it", she said.
Calling on the students to choose role models, the First Lady said the best way to keep away from drug abuse was to engage in meaningful activities that will better serve the community.
She encouraged the students to create opportunities to serve their communities and to participate in sports as well as reading instead of taking to drug abuse.
As she put it, "I want you, pupils, to choose role models who do not abuse drugs. Be useful and relevant to your community. Keep yourself very active in sports and reading to keep off from drug abuse. Be the hardworking type and be focused. Don't get derailed with drug. Drug abuse turns a beautiful child to nuisance. Be careful so that you can realise your dream. Don't destroy your future with drug. Have self confidence. Engage in skill acquisition so that you can learn something new during your vacation. Shun drug and it will give you self esteem. You will attain your full potential when you run away from drug abuse."
In his presentation, Dr. Victor Makanju described what drug could be, how it could be abused and the consequences of the abnormal use of drug.
According to him, any substance taken that changes the mood and the functioning of a body is a drug. But when it is used wrongly or hazardously, it is called drug abuse, he said.
He stated that about 70 per cent of students abuse drug unknowingly. "They do this in the guise to be awake and study in the midnight without knowing that they are already abusing it. Most children use alcohol and cannabis when they are on streets to boost their confidence but they never know that drug cannot do this," he said.
He mentioned Cigarette as a stimulant that is regularly abused by young children, calling on them that smoking could damage their brains and lungs within a very short time.
He spoke against the use of steroid by many young people to build muscle, emphasizing that use of steroid can cause sterility in male.
"The use of steroid makes a man infertile as he grows older. There are dangers associated with various drugs. Drug addiction is a complex illness. Be gentle with your brain. Drug abuse damages brains", he said.
Earlier in his address, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Social Development, Mr. Abiodun Ogunrinde, said that more children were involved in substance and alcohol abuse leading the government to face this menace headlong.
According to him, reported drug abuse cases increased in Lagos hospitals from 265 to 328 cases. In a research cconducted by students of the Lagos State University (LASU) and published in the World Journal of Medical Sciences, Ogunrinde said that in a sample of 1,000 students between age 19 and 30, over 85 per cent of them engage in drug abuse.
He called for proper education of parents and awareness among children. "We must be more active in the education of parents, children about substance abuse. We need to advise them that addiction is a disease. Let us advise our schools to introduce drug education into curriculum," he said.
In addition, Dr. Martins, who represented the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), and spoke on the processes of drug implementation, indicated that students must be aware of the bad acts of drug trafficking.
He warned the students not to serve as couriers for drug traffickers who would prey on their ignorance and financial needs. He emphasised that the menace of Boko Haram sect in the north and other types of crimes were mostly consequences of drug abuse, saying that a sane man would not like to kill himself and other people.