Practicing Journalists of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bayelsa State and members of the Oxbow Marino Deck of the National Association of Seadogs (NAS Int’l) otherwise known as Pyrates Confraternity (PC) weekend expressed concern over the rising cases of deaths recorded from drug abuse and overdose in the state.
According to the NUJ and the NAS, despite the efforts of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in the state, available data showed that over 10 youths were recorded dead from drug overdose and five of them were below 20 years of age and were undergraduates of various higher institutions in the state.
Speaking at the Public Lecture/Sensitization of the citizens of Bayelsa State on The menace of drug abuse among youths in Bayelsa state. And the way forward to mark the 2023 Feast Of Barracuda (FoB) organized by the Oxbow Marino Deck of the National Association Of Seadogs (NAS Int’l), the Capon Oxbow Marino Deck, Ebi Ayerite, urged youths to avoid illicit drugs and substance abuse. According to him, it affects both the old and the young, as well as impedes societal growth and development.
The Chairman, Bayelsa State Council of the Nigeria Union of journalists (NUJ), Comrade Samuel Numonengi, also attributed the rising cases of cases of armed robbery, cultism, Rape and other vices to the intake illicit drug abuse.
Earlier, the Deputy Superintendent of Narcotics, NDLEA, Obebatein Okprubia Aduba, lamented that punishing victims of drug addiction has been difficult because it expose them to more harms, injuries and other psychological effects.
According to her, sensitizations, enactment of laws by communities and their full enforcements, parental care and guidance, non-patronage to sellers were among the key factors for reducing supplies, marketing and consumptions of drugs, substance abuse and other illicit drug addiction.
Representative of the State Drug Abuse Prevention and Rehabilitation Committee, Faith Izibenua reiterated that rehabilitation centers are open to admit drug inmates with a view to properly rehabilitating them including counseling, detoxification and empowerment before reintegration back to the society.
In her lecture titled “”Drug Abuse: The Multiple Negative Effects”, the Chairman of the State Gender Response Initiative Team (GRIT), Barr. Dise Goddy-Harry warned that the negative effects of drug abuse has led to many youths languishing in jail for drug related offences, drop out of school, criminal record, takes away one’s personal freedom, raped or gang raped at parties in case of females, loose one’s life as a result of drug overdose and mentally deranged.
Citing Sections 11(c), 14 and 19 of the NDLEA Act, Barr. Goddy Harry stated that collaborator or any person who incite, induce conspire, aid and abet or counsel others to commit any offence mentioned in these sections is liable for imprisonment for a term not less than 15 years and not exceeding 25 years.