Youths have been urged to desist from taking proscribed drugs to avoid addiction.
The Cross River State Commander of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Anthonia Edeh gave the advice during a sensitisation programme organised for school age children in Calabar, the capital city.
Edeh, who also took the awareness campaign to markets and bus terminals within Calabar metropolis in the Southern Nigerian State, emphasised the need for youths to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“As young people, it is normal to express curiosity about your environment and to experiment with certain things. But, taking drugs without a doctor’s prescription just to feel high or good is harmful. Drinking cough syrup and other over the counter drugs are as damaging as all other banned substances”, stated Edeh.
The Commander noted that 78% of those apprehended for drug abuse are young people between the ages of 13 and 45, urging parents and guardians to take special interest in the affairs of their wards rather than abandon the care of the children to their school teachers.
According to her, “in view of the vulnerability of young people to be induced into drug abuse, parents and guardians must be alert to the behaviours of their wards as well as watch the kind of company their children keep to save them and keep them healthy for the future”.
Edeh stated that in the previous year the agency, through hard work and commitment of men and women in the Calabar command, seized 368.908 kilograms of hard drugs and arrested 186 suspects.
“In 2015, we made 186 arrest out of the number 169 were men and 17 were females. We also seized 368.908 kilograms of hard drugs. 368.478 were cannabis sativa and Cocaine 43.601 grams and 9 grams of psychotropic substance”, remarked Edeh.
She explained that of those arrested, 54 suspects were convicted to prison terms ranging from 1 to 15 years for drug related offences, while the agency counselled and reintegrated 99 clients to society.
The State Commander sued for the support and collaboration of the Governor of Cross River, Professor Ben Ayade and other stakeholders in its fight against drug abuse and illicit trafficking.