From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Federal Government has expressed worry over the increasing cases of drug abuse, noting the unhealthy behaviour had plunged the country and many families into untold pains and embarrassment.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, stated this at a media orientation on national awareness on drugs and substance abuse, yesterday in Abuja.
Farouq appealed to the media to deepen sensitisation on the negative effect of drug abuse among youth.
‘The role and importance of media as a viable tool for informing and educating people across groups and demographics especially on drugs and substance abuse in our society cannot be overemphasised.
‘As you are aware, substance abuse is increasing at an alarming rate, deteriorating the health of nations, increasing crime, hampering productivity, destroying relationships, eroding social and moral values and impeding the overall progress of societies.
‘The potential power of the mass media has helped in solving social problems. Television, radio and print advertising have been used over time to influence our ideas, values and behaviour. The continuous abuse of drugs has led to a situation of drug addiction and criminality.
‘The effects of drug abuse is detrimental not only to the individual but to the society as a whole, therefore, the use of campaigns by the mass media to reduce health and other related social problems in the society is very critical.
‘The potential of mass media campaigns lies in their ability to propagate simple and focused messages to large audiences repeatedly, over time, at a low cost per capita. It is also assumed that they are able to reach a large and heterogeneous proportion of the population,’ she said.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary, Bashir Alkali, represented by the Director Human Resource Management, Abdulrahaman Jaji, added: ‘The abuse of alcohol and other drugs by youths may result in family crises and jeopardize many aspects of family life, which sometimes result in family dysfunction.
‘Therefore, the collaborative effort of all stakeholders is needed as no one alone can control it.
‘The problem is on the increase especially in the conflict zones of the country which is a serious threat to our national sanctity.
‘Based on these findings, prevention advocates would look to the mass media as an important aid in addressing the problem of Drugs and Substance abuse.’