The Federal Government would soon abolish open drug markets and relocate operators to Coordinated Wholesale Centres (CWCs) in the country.
The Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharm. Elijah Mohammed, who stated this Monday during an advocacy workshop/seminar tagged ‘say no to illicit drugs abuse’, held at Essien Udim Local Government Council’s Secretariat, Afaha Ikot Ebak, explained that “The process would involve the closure of all open drug markets and relocation of operators of the markets to the already approved and Coordinated Wholesale Centres (CWCs).
“Let me further emphasise that the Federal Government is committed to the full implementation of National Drug Distribution Guidelines. The objective of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines is to streamline and sanitise drug distribution channels with a view to reducing non-medical access to medicines of abuse,” he stressed.
Mohammed was represented at the workshop by Ibrahim Babashehu Ahmed, Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, PCN, in the event convened to warn secondary school students in Ukana Ikot Ideh in Essien Udim local government area of Akwa Ibom State and in the environs of the dangers of drug abuse.
The Registrar expressed optimism that the seminar would serve as a platform to discourage indiscriminate use of medicines and other substances of abuse.
He announced that the Federal Government is committed to fully implementing the National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG), which would check drug distribution channels with a view to reducing non-medical access to medicines of abuse in the country.
Anietie Udo Umoren, a medical doctor and host of the seminar, said continuous mentoring and sensitising the students on the risk of using illicit drugs would bring about a society where young people would not only stay away from illicit substances, but would also become strong advocates in the fight against drug abuse.
While expressing worry over the spate of drug abuse related ills in the country, Umoren also a project development specialist, vowed not to relent his effort in sensitising young people with the view to bringing these societal ills to the barest minimum.
“This seminar is targeted at the adolescent and youths. The purpose being that we want to catch them young. The level of violence in the society is getting very high and some of these are drug-promoted violence. My target is trying to see to what extent we can reduce that.
“There is no knowledge that you pick in the archives that is expected to be of use to anybody. We will frequently interact with these young people and with time, this may become the nucleus in the ‘say no to illicit drugs’ clubs in their schools. If they have clubs and with our mentoring, it will become a lifestyle. When it becomes a lifestyle, they will be strengthened and courageous enough to promote the advocacy,” he noted.
While interacting with Straightnews reporter, Ray Ozolua, a keynote speaker at the event, advised school authorities to regularly invite experts to talk to students about the risk of substance abuse as this would help fine-tune their characters for the betterment of the society at large.
He said “You know how it is. We all go to church on Sunday and after church, we go back to committing sin. But the more we go to church, the less the tendency to commit sin. So, the more these ones hear these things, the more the tendency for them to stay away.”
Ozolua, who is a professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, said he was optimistic that 80 per cent of the students who participated in the seminar would not engage in drug abuse.
Success Iboro Umoikut, a student of State College, Ikot Ekpene, a participant at the seminar, said he would pass the information to his friends and family.
He said “Information is life, like they say. Me keeping this information to myself will not impact the society. So, I will pass on the information to my friends that are not here, my young ones and people around me.”
Another participant, Margaret Bosco Tom, a student of Community Secondary Commercial School, Ukana East, said she would inform her aunty, who she said is a substance user, of the dangers of substance abuse.
“I have an aunty who likes drinking alcoholic drinks excessively. When I leave here, I will let her know the dangers of such lifestyle and I will also warn my classmates who are not present here,” she said.
Other participating schools were Government Secondary School, Nto Nsek and Independence High School, Ukana in Essien Udim local government area.
The students were handed school materials as well as stipends to support their education at the end of the event.