Juliana Francis

To mark the International Day against Drug Abuse, the Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN) on Tuesday urged secondary school students to ensure they do not take to drugs.

The 180 students were drawn from eight secondary schools in Lagos State. To ensure that the students received the best knowledge on how to avoid drugs, CRAN picked top-notch panelists to speak to them.

The panelists were drawn from the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Person (NAPTIP), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) the police, Nigerian Immigration, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) journalists, and nongovernmental organisations.

The CRAN President, Mr. Lekan Olabulo, addressing the students, said that the wave of drug addiction that was pervading Nigeria has tipped the nation into a boiling conundrum.

He said: “The reason is not far-fetched. Youths, especially students and pupils, now abuse drugs. Most of them imbibe substances like cough syrups, Indian hemp, and off-the-counter drugs like Rohypnol, tramadol, diazepam, and lexotan, which are controlled drugs that should only be sold after a doctor’s prescription. The consequences of this menace have been far-reaching across the board as it has led to the prevailing cases of banditry, kidnapping, unwanted pregnancies, burglary, broken homes, and an upsurge in crime.”

The President noted that although the crisis was not new, it has become worse, exacerbating economic, social, and physiological crises, which if unchecked, portends grave danger to the society at large.

According to Olabulo, the menace was more worrisome to all and sundry because the victims and traffickers of drugs live in the society as neighbours, children, friends, students, siblings, spouses, or even parents.  He noted that these days, the disturbing global phenomenon to which no nation was immune, had spread to many homes as even children were getting increasingly involved in illicit drugs and substance abuse.

Olabulo further stated: “It was in a bid to join the campaign against this menace that the Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN) decided on this panel discussion at Ikeja Senior Grammar School Hall with 180 students to create more awareness and educate on the dangers in drug abuse. This year, the theme of the International Day against Drug Abuse is ‘Addressing drug challenges in health and humanitarian crises and that’s what CRAN is doing today. In the past five years, the association has successfully marked the Annual World Day Against Drug and Human Trafficking. The maiden edition was held at its Mike Okiro Press Centre, Oduduwa, Ikeja, and its success elevated our spirits to sustain the event by marking other editions. For each edition, we upped the ante as we had an array of speakers from the police, private security sector, NDLEA, Nigerian Immigration, NAPTIP, non-governmental organisations, and entertainers, where we had a robust discussion. Our stance in keying into the United Nations programme stems from the underlying fact that drug abuse and human trafficking have become a horrifying menace that is tearing the fabrics of the society, with attendant effect on youths.”


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