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Drug Abuse Killing Our Youths, Says Gov. Diri

*UNODC, NDLEA Commend Bayelsa Effort Against Scourge

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has bemoaned the effect of drug use and abuse on Nigerian youths, saying it was destroying their future.

Speaking at the Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha Banquet Hall of the Government House, Yenagoa, during a Stakeholders Mega Sensitisation Campaign on Drug Abuse and Prevention, Governor Diri said the commitment of his administration to eradication of the scourge was premised on its adverse effect on the society.

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, on Wednesday, quoted the governor as expressing the readiness of his administration to make the state free of drug abuse.

He called on all hands to be on deck in the fight against drug abuse, saying the government and relevant agencies alone cannot achieve the desired result.

He further stated that the desire to rid the state of drug abuse and its consequences led to setting up of the Bayelsa State Drug Abuse Prevention and Rehabilitation Committee.

In furtherance of this, Diri stated that he has directed the construction of a psychiatric hospital, which would be completed within one year.

The governor charged youths of the state to shun drug abuse, saying it only destroyed their future and added no meaning to their lives as some persons try to make them believe.

His words: “Drugs and crime go together. The best approach to stop crime is to stop the youths from use of drugs. We all have the responsibility to check drug abuse as it is not the duty for only government.

“We will stop at nothing until all parts of Bayelsa State is free of drug abuse and its effects. We cannot afford to have our youths involved in drug abuse. Some of them are very brilliant. Rather than choosing ife, they have chosen the path of death.”

In their goodwill messages, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (Rtd) represented by the Director-General/Secretary, Mr. Shadrach Haruna, and the Country Representative of United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), Mr. Oliver Stolpe, commended the efforts of the state government toward eradicating drug abuse.

Gen. Marwa said the initiatives to combat drug peddling and use by the state government were in line with the policy of the agency.He called on all tiers of government and traditional rulers to support the fight against drug abuse.

Mr Stolpe, on his part, said recent statistics suggested that drug use prevalence was very high and that the South-South ranked the highest.

According to him, drug control stands on three perspective, enforcement, prevention, treatment and cure, which he said must have equal attention and resources.

He noted that the Bayelsa government had shown commitment in the quest to combat drug use and commended Governor Diri for constituting a committee on drug prevention and dedicating a health facility for drug treatment.

He promised to work with the state to rid the state of the scourge.

In her welcome address, chairman of the Bayelsa State Drug Abuse Prevention and Rehabilitation Committee (BADAPARC), Dr. Faith Izibenua, said the committee has adopted a three-pronged strategy towards addressing the scourge namely, school, faith and community-based approach.

Delivering a keynote address, Prof. Helen Osinowo lauded the government for setting up the BADAPARC and praised the committee for a job well done while calling for the setting up of a registry to speed up the fight against drug abuse.

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