The founder HalimaFactor Community Initiative, a leading educational, health and environmental advocacy group in Nigeria, Halima Usman has urged Nigerian students and youths to stay away from the abuse of substances and drugs, maintaining that it is inimical to their health and future.

According to Halima, a lot of youths have had their dreams truncated as a result of indulgence in drugs, urging them to take responsibility for their health, dreams and future.

Giving an instance of two young ladies who lost their lives following a ghastly accident they were involved in after getting heavily drunk in a club in Abuja last years, Halima who doubles as the chairman Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA Abuja chapter said this instance is just a typical example of substance abuse. 

Speaking on Thursday at the occasion of the official flagging off of war against drug and substance abuse in campuses organised by National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS Joint Campus Committee Niger state axis, she expressed gratitude the organisers of the event for their thoughtfulness in setting up such robust advocacy campaign which she said is very timely and important in saving the young people from further self-destruction. 

Speaking further, she said, "Another story I want to share with you is the story of my nephew, a student then in University of Maiduguri while I was still studying there.

"This was a very intelligent student but he got involved in taking of substances, drugs and he was later overwhelmed with the taking of these deadly stuffs.

"From being a very intelligent young man, gradually he ended up spending ten years in the university for a 4-year course and at the end of the day he couldn't even graduate but had to drop out" she said.

While encouraging the students and the youths generally not to be drop out from their studies on account of involvement in substance abuse, the advocate said drug according to research damages the brain cells and the body functionality as well as causing grave health complications in addition to reduction in productivity. 

"Sometimes it gets to a depressing stage where some other youths (abusers) have to go to the extent of committing suicide.

"I therefore want to remind you that your future is in your hand and the future of our great country, Nigeria solidly depends on you.

"I appeal to you, whatever it is that will be a temptation to truncate your dreams and lead you astray, do not succumb to it. Work hard, look inside of you, you have enough talent to bring you up.

"You do not need any euphoria or intoxicant to make you high or help you overcome any challenge. Life itself is truly challenging but perseverance is the key.

"I challenge you to be a true leader, I want you to face your fears and confront them frontally. No substance can help you overcome. It is not good for your health, it is not good for your family and it is not good for the society" she cautioned.

The author urged them not to desert their friends already involved in drugs but seek professional counselling for them while exercising utmost caution in order not to fall victims as well.

According to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, the latest global estimates indicate that about 5.5 per cent of the population aged between 15 and 64 years have used drugs at least once in the past year, while 36.3 million people, or 13 per cent of the total number of persons who use drugs, suffer from drug use disorders. 

In Nigeria, with 14.4% the drug use prevalence is significantly higher than the global average.

Globally, over 11 million people are estimated to inject drugs, half of whom are living with Hepatitis C. Opioids continue to account for the largest burden of disease attributed to drug use.


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