Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25, 2023, election, Mr. Peter Obi, has said that leadership failure, high rate of poverty and frustration as well as peer pressure and unemployment are among the major factors fuelling drugs and substance abuse among youths in the country.
Mr. Obi, who said this as part of celebration of the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, marked on June 26, stressed that statistics has showed that the drugs abuse crisis in Nigeria is far worse than obtains elsewhere in the world.
Noting that the health conditions that result from drug abuse are unimaginable, the former Anambra State Governor pointed out that the New Nigeria he envisages will be anchored on the youth population and productivity, hence “We must ensure that our youths are free from all forms of drug abuse and trafficking in illicit substances.”
Full text of message:
On this International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, we are reminded of the lingering menace of drug abuse among our youths and the need to take consistent actions to defeat it.
A report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Nigeria indicates that 14.4% of Nigerians aged between 15 and 64 years abuse drugs. This is significantly higher than the global average of 5.6%.
The leadership failure in the country, high rate of poverty and frustration, peer-group pressure among the youths, high rate of unemployment etc, are some of the main factors fuelling drugs and substance abuse among the youths.
The attendant health conditions that result from drug abuse are unimaginable. They include an epidemic of mental health cases and incidents of suicidal behaviour among youth. While we appreciate the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for their tireless efforts in combating the drug abuse menace in the country, more needs to be done by the government in rescuing the youths – our productive workforce from further slide into drug addiction.
By not stigmatising our people who have fallen into drug addiction, and putting measures in place to prevent more people from getting caught in the deadly web, we will gradually stamp out this societal ill.
I have always maintained that the New Nigeria will be anchored on our youth population and productivity. We must ensure that our youths are free from all forms of drug abuse and trafficking in illicit substances. -PO