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Anambra State Library Partners NDLEA On International Day AgainstDrug Abuse

By Izunna Okafor
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Youths have been charged to desist from drug abuse and channel their energy, enthusiasm and concentration to productive endeavours.

The Director, Anambra State Library Services, Dr. Nkechi Udeze gave the charge at a one-day program organized to mark the 2020 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which held at Ozubulu, Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Organized by the Anambra State Library Board in collaboration with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA, Anambra State Command), this year's event was themed 'Better Knowledge for Better Care'.

According to the Director, lack of knowledge —which is a basic problem the library is always available to solve for its users —and drug abuse contribute immensely to the various societal challenges that the Nigeria and other countries of the world are currently facing.

She therefore called on the youths to desist from drug abuse, while also urging parents to inculcate good reading culture and moral cum ethical values in the lives of their children, and regularly monitor and discipline them.

She said, "Any sensible child who has vision and mission can never indulge in drug abuse, rape or any other form of social vices. I also advise you to regularly go for medical check-up rather than going to mix medicine for yourself at the chemist shop without prescription anytime you feel any symptom of ailment, because that could amount to drug abuse."

"Also avail yourself for this kind of program and sensitization, because that is where you will learn things that will help you in your entire in life, rather than going only where you will be given rice and money, which are just temporal things," she added.

In a lecture, the State Commander, NDLEA, Anambra State Command, Mr. Mohammed Musbau Idris represented by Mr. Auta Tanko of Nnewi Area Commander, defined drug as any chemical substance which when used or taken into the body, affects the body and the mind by changing the body's function or behaviour; and drug abuse as an act of taking totally banned drugs, not medically necessary drugs, and excessive drug.

He highlighted some of the factors that breed or lead to drug abuse to include experimentation, peer group, stress, desire to enhance performance; pursuit of pleasure, availability and affordability, parenting styles; even as he categorized its effects into physical, social and psychological problems, which include damage to unborn babies, brain, liver, kidney and other body organs, hepatitis, high BP, premature ageing; paranoia, psychosis, sleepless, social vices, and at worst, an untimely death.

On drug and inspiration, he said, "Drug does not inspire or give inspiration, rather, it highs a person to do in something wrong, to commit crimes or indulge in any other form of social vices.

"So I advise anyone abusing drug because he thinks it gives inspiration or for any reason at all, to desist from it, because drug abuse does not offer anything good at all, in any sense of it."

Earlier in their separate speeches, the Branch Librarian, Amichi Branch Library, Mrs Perpetual Okonkwo, and her Ozubulu Branch Library counterpart, Mr Peter Ibe harped on the importance and advantages of library usage and knowledge acquisition to the young and the old, to include making one to stand out among others, and making one to be resourceful and contributory to the development of the society.

They therefore urged the participants to start taking full advantage of the library, as having a library in their community is indeed a privilege, which other people seriously and anxious struggle to get in their own communities.

In a vote of thanks, the Chairman, Ozubulu Development Union (youth wing) Engr. Chris Ndubuisi Ononuju appreciated the library and the NDLEA for bringing such an eye-opening sensitization to their doorstep, and pledged to take the message home to other youths in various villages of the community. While assuring that Ozubulu Community must be drug-free, he also pledged to be inviting the NDLEA and other such relevant agencies to sensitize their youths from time to time.

The event also attracted the presence of the DSS Commander, Ekwusigo Formation, Mr. Kenneth Okonkwo, represented by Mr. Charles Chukwurah.

Some of the participants, Mezie Emenike and Anene Anthony lauded the organizers of the event and promised to put everything they learnt into practice.

Among other highpoints, the event which was held in strict adherence to the COVID-19 safety protocols featured distribution of facemasks to the participants, question and answer session, as well as premiering of a video series on the effects of drug abuse.

International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking which is observed on 26th June of every year since 1989 is a day set aside by the United Nations for creating of awareness against drug abuse and the illegal drug trade.