The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has called on parents and teachers to help protect their children and wards from drug abuse.
The appeal came as it urged the government to take proactive steps to curb the scourge at the family level.
The NDLEA Chairman, Mr. Ahmadu Giade, said this at the inauguration of the West Africa Forum on Drugs on Thursday. The People against Drug Dependence and Ignorance organised the forum in Lagos.
According to Giade, drug abuse has the potential of destroying children’s social and emotional development
The Director, Drug Demand and Reduction, Alhaji Baba Hussein, represented Giade on the occasion.
He said, “It is crucial how a society succeeds in its ambition to protect children from drug abuse. Alcohol and other drug used by parents interrupt a child’s normal development. For instance, drug use can impair a parent’s judgment and ability to provide care, supervision and guidance that his children need.
“The orderliness and predictability that should make a home safe environment are then sacrificed to the parent’s addiction. This state of uncertainty creates a deep sense of insecurity for children. Often times, children have difficulties in school due to tension and conflict at home. They suffer emotional consequences, such as mistrust, guilt, shame, confusion, ambivalence, fear, anxiety and depression. They may become victims of incest and violence. In addition, drug abuse by mothers can affect their unborn infants,” he said.
Giade also canvassed a compulsory admission for treatment programme for pregnant women who use drugs, among other interventions.
The Managing Partner, KYM Global Pharmaceuticals, Mrs. Hauwa Keri, in her presentation, identified commonly abused drugs to include, among others, cannabis, tranquilisers, tobacco, snuff.
Keri, a former Director, Evaluation and Research at the NDLEA, urged the Federal Ministry of Education as well as other relevant stakeholders to review the nation’s curriculum to include training in adverse effects of drugs and other chemicals.
Urging parents to be vigilant, Keri identified peer pressure, unemployment and deceptive advertisements as some of the causes and reasons for substance use.
She said, “Nigeria has observed a drastic increase in drug abuse affecting mainly youths between 14 and 30 years, including females. There are emerging trends, which include mixes of illicit drugs, such as cough syrup. Some of them inhale paints and other solvents. Some inhale ammonia gas coming out of toilets while others inhale urine and faeces from lizards.
“Parents should watch out for sudden change in school attendance; inability to relax; frequent borrowing of money; selling possessions or stealing from home or school; talking incoherently or making inappropriate remarks.”