Activities commemorating this year’s United Nations International Day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking celebration in Akwa Ibom State came to a close Monday with a call from the state Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Dr. Chris Ekong on the legislature to enact a law to control the demand and consumption of hard drugs.
The commissioner, who made the suggestion in a brief comment during the closing ceremonies, said it was not enough to only concentrate on ways to check the supply of these drugs classified as hard drugs but that something should also be done to curtail demand on their consumption, especially among school children.
He advised students who were selected from a few secondary schools across the state including some tertiary institutions to focus on those role models who can change or affect their lives positively.
He commended the United Nations, the state government and organisers of the programme, expressing hope that its good effect would rub off on the participants.
In a keynote address, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Edet J. Attih, represented by the Director of Pharmaceutical Services in the ministry, Mr. S. A. Unah, likened the work of the state commandant of NDLEA to that of an axe-man, saying she should not relent until the “tree was felled”.
He advocated for the establishment of drug free clubs in all the state secondary schools including the private ones.
He named illicit hot drink called “ogogoro” in native parlance as a dangerous hard drug which people don’t regard as such because it’s readily available almost everywhere.
The week-long celebration involved both Moslem and Christian services and counselling at selected secondary schools and awareness campaign for the general public at motor parks and other public places across the state.
This year’s programme which has its theme as “Children and Drugs” also had a guest lecture on “Marijuana” by Deaconess Dora Ebong, Managing Director/Chief Executie Officer, Topcare Pharmacy.
The guest lecturer, herself a community pharmacist, said consumption of marijuana was the first step to taking hard drugs.
She also maintained that improper use of drug was another way of drug abuse.
She announced a one-month internship for Master Joseph E. Udoh of HOFACO, Abak, with her pharmacy during the long vacation for writing an essay on drug abuse.
A drama sketch on effect of drug abuse was staged by NYSC-Drug free club.
Earlier, the state NDLEA Commandant, Mrs. Florence Arhchibong, observed that drug abuse problem is not only for the youths but entire mankind.
She advised parents and teachers to play their roles well for the fight to be successful.