A leading anti-drug advocacy and research group in Nigeria, The Unified Initiative for a Drug Free Nigeria (UIDFN) has formally inaugurated the Ekiti State chapter of the organisation.
The formal inauguration handled by the Executive Director of UIDFN, Mr James Olloh took place recently at Counselling and Human Development Centre (CHDC) of the federal University of Oye Ekiti, Ekiti State.
In a brief ceremony anchored by Mr Ntia Usukuma, a board Member who represented the Executive Director, Mr James Olloh advised the new chapter to remain resolute in the goals of the organisation which is to eradicate drugs and substance abuse in all the states in Nigeria. He called on the new executive to create innovative programmes and activities that will appeal to youths who are the worst affected group in this endemic problem of drug abuse. Board Member and Co-founder of UIDFN, Mr Ikenna Molobe advised the new executive to remain focused so that they can serve as reference points to the four new chapters slated for formal inauguration this year.
In his response State Coordinator of the new Ekiti Chapter of UIDFN Mr LivinusUgwuoke Emeka pledged to remain loyal to the ideals of the organisation and promised to work together with his team to break new grounds in the relentless fight against drug abuse in Nigeria
Before the inauguration ceremony the board members of Unified Initiative for a Drug Free Nigeria (UIDFN) paid a courtesy visit to the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Oye Ekiti, Ekiti State, Prof. Kayode Soremekun who pledged to actively support any sustainable campaign to eliminate all traces of substance abuse on all the campuses of the Federal University of Oye Ekiti.
Apart from the inauguration ceremony, the visiting board members were also in the state to attend an interactive forum at Federal University Oye Ekiti they organised in collaboration with the International Substance Abuse and Addiction Coalition (ISAAC), an global coalition of leading NGOs promoting the fight against drugs and substance abuse. The theme of the seminar was entitled “Understanding Drug Abuse/Addiction Situation in Nigeria: Sustainability and Best Practices in Addiction Recovery Support Programme.”
During the courtesy call, the vice chancellor, Prof. Kayode Soremekun commended the efforts of UIDFN, oragnisers of the programme in the sensitization and fight against drug abuse and drug usage among youths. especially as drug abuse has obviously become an endemic global problem with its attendant negative effects. He stated that his administration is open to more collaborative efforts with the association for the general purpose of stemming drug abuse and illicit drug use among Nigerian youths.
Earlier at the seminar, The Executive Secretary of ISSAC, Mr. Treflyn Roberts, who flew in from London for the programme, dissected extensively the dangers of drug abuse and its effects while maintaining that addiction recovery is possible because change is possible. He stated that change in any behavioural pattern starts with a process until an effect is noticed. Roberts disclosed that the journey of change actually starts with a decision while action steps, continuity and maintenance are vital forces for effecting changes in one’s previous deviant behaviour. He likened change to hair growth in the human body where the hair needs to groomed and maintained; else the sustainable changes that one aspires can witness a relapse.
He spoke further on the three major dependencies that need to be broken in the process of change in any substance dependent situation. They include physical, psychological and social dependencies. Physical dependency, he explained, include breaking all addictions to unwanted habits while psychological dependency has to do with developing the brain to direct an addict to indulge in a new programmed habit frequently to regain control of his body system fully. Social dependency entails indulging in a habit because one wants to keep up with an already held social status.
Also speaking at the programme the Ekiti State Director of NAFDAC, Mr B Gonzuk made a striking disticntion between drug and drug abuse. He defined drug as any consumed or applied substance that modifies the hormonal function in the body of an animal or man while abuse of drug simply means an intentional improper use of any drug especially for non-medical purposes.
He also identified likely traits that are associated with drug abuse. They include; sudden behavioural changes like being noisy or extremely quiet, abrupt change of attitude, sudden decline in academic performance and criminal tendencies. Some of the commonly abused drugs and substances he identified were Marijuana, Alcohol, cocaine, tramadol, sythentic drugs, crystal meth, methamphetamine, heroine and inhalants.
The Ekiti NAFDAC Chief also highlighted of some of the short and long term effects on the abuse of drug to include; loss of coordination, distortion of vision and hearing, sleep distortion, reddening of eye, muscle tension, depression, involuntary teeth clenching, convulsion, hallucination and paranoid. The long term effects on an individual he listed include psychotic symptoms like mental derangement, lung and kidney infections and cardiovascular issues like high blood pressure, damage to blood vessels in the brain and memory impairment.