– By Celestine Ukah
In living up to its mandate of checking and controlling reckless use of drugs and abuse of illicit substances in Delta society, the State Drug Control Committee (SDCC) has on Thursday, 17th November, 2022, inaugurated over 11 secondary school clubs at the Uvwie area of Warri in Delta State with the sole purpose of curtailing access and use of drugs by students and other young persons within the area and beyond.
The message of Delta State Government was clear and unambiguous to the Drug Free Club members, which is to assist the Government in orienting students to shun drug abuse and be good ambassadors of their schools, families and society at large.
This charge was vigorously conveyed at the venue of the inauguration at the Delta Careers College, Ugboroke, by the Delta State Director of Orientation/Functioning Permanent Secretary in the State Orientation Bureau, Mrs. Stella Macaulay.
She urged the students to organize quiz competitions, debates, essay writings and other social activities that would take their minds off drug use and abuse at all times.
Macaulay who is also a member of the SDCC, noted that lots of mentally deranged cases among young people are traceable to the use and abuse of hard drugs which according to her can be addressed if young people could shun reckless use of drugs in the society.
According to her, “The inauguration of the Drug Free Clubs in secondary schools across the state for which Uvwie LGA is a pilot scheme, will empower schools to operate the clubs and sustain the advocacy against drug abuse among young adults in their communities.
Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the Delta State Drug Control Committee, Pharm. Mrs. Helen Orie advised young people to avoid drug abuse because, according to her, unhealthy youths breed unhealthy nation, being that the effect of drug abuse on the active youths affects productivity and enhances stunted economic growth.
She said in view of this concern, the Delta State Government led by Ifeanyi Okowa graciously approved and mandated the Committee to carry on with the message of catching them young with meaningful engagements and activities that would make the young people great future leaders.
Orie stressed the need for young people to be wise by avoiding drug addiction and abuse in order to live a better life and help the country to have a drug free future that would not only place them on the pedestal of greatness but would make for a sane society devoid of lawlessness and destruction of the active segment of its economic chart and development chain.
Speaking from expert point of view however, Pharm. Stella Uduaghan and Mr. Finecountry Goodluck from the State Agency for the Control of HIV/Aids reiterated their advocacy against drug abuse, thereby charging the students to desist from peer group influence in order not to be involved in drug abuse, alcoholism, smoking and other illicit substance abuse.
They both charged the students to be agents of change in their various schools and be good models for their colleagues to emulate.
The State Drug Free Clubs in Nigeria is supported by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Delta State Ministry of Health and other critical stakeholders for better living amongst people in the society.
The Drug Free Club schools that were inaugurated in Uvwie include: Urhobo College, Effurun; Ugbolokposo Secondary School, Ugbolokposo; Abe 1 Secondary School; Army Day Secondary School, Effurun; Ekpan Basic Secondary School; Alegbo Secondary School; Sedco Secondary School, Enerhen; Ogbe Secondary School; Ekpan Secondary School; Opete Secondary School; Ebrumede Secondary School; Ohorhe Secondary School and Delta Careers College, Ugboroke.
Responding on behalf of the Teachers, Mrs. Seth-Ugbosu Oghale commended the Delta State Government and the State Drug Control Committee for the good job they are doing, assuring that the school managements would give the students necessary support to float the clubs successfully in their various schools.
Some of the students equally expressed the joy that the state government had initiated what they described as students enabling environment which will attract health free discussion centres.
They also promised to work hard to keep the Drug Free Clubs operational through the convert of more of their likes to become drug free ambassadors in their schools as well as sustain the drug free initiative in the State.