By Ononye VC
Drug abuse is negative societal trend that has a devastating effect on your health, your family and the society as a whole. When drug abuse becomes a necessity for maintaining psychological and emotional equilibrium it, is called Drug Addiction.

On the 2021 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (World Drug Day), DeCODE in collaboration with National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Fegge Area Command with support from Onitsha South Local Government Area, joined the rest of the world to #ShareFactsOnDrugs to help #SaveLives and tackle the world drug problem.

Over 70 students from Urban boys secondary school, Urban girls secondary school, Modebe Memorial Secondary School, Metu Memorial Secondary School and over 30 staff of the Onitsha South LG officials were sensitized on factual information on the dangers/ harm of drug abuse on the individual using pictorial/ visual evidence based method. This method, we hoped, will most likely assist the participants to make informed decision on why it is important to say no to drugs and yes to life

DeCODE is very grateful to Mrs. Amaka Ekwealor, the Area Commander, NDLEA Fegge Area Command for the opportunity and Hon. Emeka Asoanya, the Chairman, Onitsha South LGA for his maximum support.

Facts on drugs
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report,

• Around 269 million people (including Nigeria) used drugs worldwide in 2018, which is 30% more than in 2009, while over 35 million people suffer from drug use disorders.
• Nearly 200 million people are using illicit drugs such as Tramadol, Indian hemp, Solutions, cocaine, cannabis, hallucinogens, opiates and sedative hypnotics worldwide.
• In Nigeria, 14.3 million people aged 15-64 (14.4%) have used at least one psychoactive substance in the year 2017 (UNODC, 2018)
• Among the 14.3 million people, 20% have substance disorders which affect them, their family and the society at large with grave consequences.
• Adolescents and young adults account for the largest share of those using drugs, while young people are also the most vulnerable to the effects of drugs because they use the most and their brains are still developing.
• Socio-economically disadvantaged face greater risk from drug use disorders. Poverty, limited education and social marginalization remain major factors increasing the risk of drug abuse disorders and vulnerable and marginalized groups may also face barriers to getting treatment services due to discrimination and stigma. Kindly refer to www.unodc.org for more detailed information on drug use.

World Health Organization (WHO) and the world Heart Foundation’s data, posit that in Nigeria,
• 22.1 percent of school youth age between 12 to 17 years use tobacco.
The British Officer for national Statistics reports that 12 percent of pupils aged (11-15) had used drugs. (Abudu, 2008; Giade, 2011).

The UN is determined to help create an international society free of drug abuse and we are doing all we can to support them in creating the society free of drug abuse.

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