Expert suggests sensitisation as best approach to curbing drug abuse

MRS Victoria Opakunle, a public nursing officer, on Friday, says intensive sensitisation is the best approach to curb drug abuse and other vices among youths in Nigeria.

Opakunle, a Head Nurse at Kamwire Medical Centre, Ilorin- Kwara, gave this advice in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday.

She said that alcohol and other drug abuse had been on the increase in the country, especially among youths; adding that the problem had not been given deserved attention.

“There is the need for comprehensive prevention and treatment approaches, aimed at changing the physical, social, legal, and economic environments of communities,” she said.

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She noted that the environmental approach recognised that the abuser was influenced at multiple levels such as personal, peer, institutional, community, and policy levels.

According to her, dissemination of information is the first approach and that should be used always.

She said that campaigns area were always aimed at offering information, teaching, psycho-social support, advocacy and research for spiritual growth and social change.

“Advocacy is required to disseminate information about alcohol and other drug abuse in addition to finding solutions to the problem and even taking preventive actions on it.

“Information is power; ensuring a drug-free society should be everyone’s concern.

“The entire society is affected when it comes to drug abuse; this is because the consequences are upon society.

“This is a task for everybody. Everyone must do all he or she can do to get involved and rid his or her territory of drugs peddlers,” she said.

According to her, most youths, who are abusing drugs do not even know what they are doing, as they are ignorant of the implications of their actions.

“Youths, who indulge in drugs, do it because of peer pressure. They want to indulge in what their friends are doing and these decisions have really affected them and the society at large,” she said.

Opakunle urged youths to do away with drugs and ensure that they had a better life, saying that “illicit drug consumption kills and makes you useless”.

She, however, lauded the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for working against drug abuse and making efforts towards ensuring that the country is vices free.