‘Youths are attracted by a quest for experimentation and exploration’

The Executive Director of a non– governmental organisation, People Against Drug Dependence and Ignorance (PADDI) Foundation and a member of the Board of the World Federation Against Drugs, Mr. Eze Eluchie, spoke to DEBO OLADIMEJI on drug abuse and the solutions.

To address the issue of drug abuse, the Executive Director of People Against Drug Dependence and Ignorance, Eze Eluchie holds the view that everybody has to be interested in the abuse of drugs that may directly affect or impact on us whether we are the ones abusing the substance or not.

Eluchie, who is an attorney represents sub- Sahara Africa on the Civil Society Task Force of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (CSTF-UNGASS) on the world’s drug problems, recalled his personal experience which heightened his interest in drug abuse.

“Very early in my practice as an Attorney, my office situated in the Ojuelegba-Surulere area of Lagos was severally burgled, and in one of the burglaries, when the burglar was apprehended, he merely stated that his motivation to take the risk of breaking into my office and thereafter sell off what he stole for peanuts, was to be able to buy his next fix of drugs.”

This prodded him to make more inquiries about drug abuse and ever since, he has continued to positively impact on society by ameliorating the effects of the abuse of drugs on the wider population.

He said: ‘The young ones are now fond of drug abuse because youths are highly impressionable and they are attracted by a quest for experimentation and exploration.”

“By exposing the young ones to positive ventures such as academics, sports and physical prowess pushes the misguided ones to dare in the wrong direction, in the area of experimentation and abuse of substances.”

He said that the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act empowers the agency to checkmate the illicit production, trafficking and consumption of all regulated substances particularly psychotropic and narcotic substances.

“It is however, pertinent that considering their capacity, in terms of manpower and equipment, they will concentrate on some of the more potent substances of abuse whilst not totally neglecting other substances such as Tramadol, Benilyn-with-codeine and other medicinal substances which are being abused.”

Eluchie said that the fact that some will opt to go to public latrines for the seriously unhealthy purpose of inhaling the pungent smell emanating from such places particularly the pit-latrines that still dot some of our communities, should serve to reinforce the oddity inherent in opting for a life of drug abuse.

“Why take the risk? Why try to obscure reality? A reality that you know will still be waiting when, and if, you return from a self-imposed absence from reality. There could be permanent damage to the psyche and mind or even death, from overdose of such drugs.”

According to him the inability of our governments to have effective prevention and public enlightenment programs on substance abuse; near non-existence of facilities to cater for persons initiating drug abuse; failure to provide sufficient opportunities for young ones to positively explore their potentials (via sound education and public parks/playgrounds) and lax supply control efforts, cumulatively underscore governments share of the burden for increase in drug abuse among youths in our society.

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