Edgal Imohimi, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, has blamed the prevalence of drug abuse on parents.
Imohimi said this at a seminar organized by Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria, CRAN, themed “Stop the Stigmatization of Ex-Drug Users and Human Trafficking” to mark World Day Against Drug and Human Trafficking.
“The issue of drug abuse has been a major problem. In fact, I feel we need to declare a state of emergency on drug abuse. However, we need to ask ourselves how we got here.
“Drugs had been there since we were young but the difference is that we had parents that cared. We had family structures but now broken down.
“Societal values are gone. Family is supposed to be a platform upon which every other thing grows. If that family influence is missing, one end up being vulnerable to crime.
“The situation now is that some parents are now afraid of their children. Then, the school care about the conduct of students but now no one cares.
“Religious leaders should also dedicate time to tell the people evils of drug abuse. It is only a sane society that listens to spiritual message.
“We will continue to do our own part. I want a safe environment where our children can grow up to contribute their quota to the development of the society.” he said.
Imohimi stated that four out of every ten young persons will be involved in drug if nothing is done. He urged other security agencies to embrace sensitisation saying their duty should not be limited to enforcement.
Joe Okei-Odumakin, a Human Right Activist who was a guest lecturer at the event, condenmed stigmatization on drug users saying that it makes the victim shy away from help.
“When you stigmatize, you are giving the victim room for continuation. Stigmatization is described as being bad or having a situation to be ashamed of.
“When you label a person or stigmatize, you make the society develop fear for the person, mistrust, violence, discrimination and so on.
“The effect it has on the victims are; they fear to come out, delay in seeking necessary help, self-stigmatization and this generates into low self-esteem.
“Let us develop our lives, community and identity without drugs.” she said.
A survivor of drug abuse, Tosin Olaoluwa, who shared his experience at the event said that he started taking alcohol and drugs casually when he started Senior Secondary School. He further disclosed that he joined a cult group in his first year at the university.
Olaoluwa said he dropped out eventually because he could not continue due to the instability of his mind. He revealed that he was helpless but found succour in God.
Sarah Ene, a legal practitioner, also a guest lecturer at the event noted that the children are exposed to so much information on social media. She urged parents to limit their children's use of social media.
Odita Sunday, the CRAN President, said that the fight against drug abuse should not be left to agencies alone as everyone needs to join in the advocacy. He added that victims of drug abuse should be shown love and encouragement as they are fighting a battle within themselves.
Also in attendance were Tanwa Ashiru, Chief Executive Officer of Bulwark Intelligence; Mohammed Sanusi, Officer-in-Charge, Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS; Olatunji Disu, Commander, Rapid Response Squad; Don Pedro Aganbi, Chairman of Actors Guild of Nigeria Lagos Chapter; and Grace Amah, Nollywood actress and drug abuse ambassador.