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Drug Abuse: Experts Call On Parents To Watch Over Their Wards 

As part of efforts to eradicate drug abuse among Nigerian youths, various experts and stakeholders have emphasized the need for the greater roles to be played by parents in ensuring that their children are dissuaded from consuming illicit drugs.

This declaration was made by speakers at the lecture organised by the All Youth Reoriented Initiative to mark this year’s edition of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Speaking at the lecture with the theme: “Effect of Drug Abuse, Who Suffers Most? The Society or The User” which was organized on the weekend in Abeokuta, Ogun State, the lecturers commended the organizer of the lecture saying it was timely and necessary.

Speaking at the occasion on “Mental Health” the Deputy Director, Addiction Therapist, at the Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Aro – Abeokuta, Dr  Solomon Abiodun said parents should not follow the old training method of bullying their children but they should draw them nearer and counsel them on the danger of the drug abuse.

“We need to warn the parents themselves against drug abuse. What you don’t have, you don’t give. There are some parents themselves who are using drugs. So if you are using drugs as a parent, what message do you want to give to your children, it won’t be meaningful. 

“So the fight against drug abuse starts from the parents. Let them first know the consequences of their actions. If they know the consequences of their actions, they will stop and they will be able to educate their children on the evil of drug abuse.

“Some parents want to train their children, the way their parents trained them. They should note that this generation is quite different. In those days, children were bullied to toe the right path, but if you bully any child now, you send him away. Parents need to do everything possible to draw their children closer so that whatever they are telling them, they will be able to internalise it. Doing otherwise will lead to a terrible error. So we implore the parents to do more of advocacy of taking away of drugs from our society”, Dr Abiodun said.

Also speaking on the topic, “Dealing with Drug Abuse” a Staff Officer, Drug Demand Reduction, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA), Ogun State Command, Sarah Afolabi urges parents to keep watch over their children, saying they should not leave their children for school teachers alone, urging parents to create a good and positive environment for their children.

“This will make your children your friends, unnecessary pressure from some parents makes some children take to drugs and join bad gangs. Parents must be there to support their children. Education begins at home. It is the habit of the home that children carry to school.

“Parents should therefore pay attention to the attitudes of their children and stop shifting responsibility. They should know that the children are vulnerable, so their attitudes and actions should be monitored constantly”, Afolabi counselled.

While delivering his opening remark, the Chairman of the occasion and founder of Harvarde College of Business Science and Management Studies, Abeokuta, Dr. Adebayo Oluwatosin commended the organization for initiating the lecture to sensitise the students on drug abuse.

He said parents have a very serious role to play in ensuring that their children are not dragged into drug abuse, noting that parents must keep their two eyes open in monitoring their children.

“My own candid advice to the parents is to keep watch over their kids because when problem starts, it always affects the parent too. The parents should keep constant watch over their kids, talk to them regularly, and let them know the disadvantage of even taking alcohol which most of them think is a normal thing in society”, he counselled.

The Legal Adviser of the All Youth Reoriented Initiative, and the Project Coordinator of the Drug-related issue of the organization, Barrister Isaac Izunya on his part also corroborated the other speakers, saying the parents must be close to their children and keep watch over them.

“Parents need to watch closely and understand the characters of their children. And when the characters of their children change, they should be able to examine the reason for the change and engage their children in discussion.

“One thing we have discovered and recognize about drug abuse is that as you grow, it becomes a health challenge rather than a legal challenge. It becomes a health challenge because the person involved in drug abuse at a stage doesn’t have one hormone or the other.

“So if parents realize and see drug abuse as a health problem, then they will not see the victims as somebody to be flogged but somebody that needs to be drawn close and equipped with necessary psychological power”, he said.

Speaking on the programme, Izunya said the All Youths Reoriented Initiative of Nigeria was established to cater to the right and privileges of persons. 

“We have done a lot of things that have to do with litigations in other areas that have to do with corruption. But here we are, as part of our objectives to see how we can impact knowledge on the students in order to equip them properly with norms and values to stand above every street pressure and peer pressure. When students are impacted with this knowledge, it will give them the ability to withstand whatever pressure drug abuse will bring to them”, he said.

Students who came top in the essay competition organised as part of the programme against drug abuse were rewarded with monetary gifts.

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