Expert blames youth restiveness on drug abuse

Drug abuse is becoming a pervasive problem and is directly responsible for the increase in robbery, violence and youth restiveness being experienced today in Nigeria, the President of the Association of Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON), Dr. Ona Ekhomu has said.

Drug abuse, according to him, is also responsible for a large percentage of the mass casualty accidents involving commuter vehicles on our roads in recent times.

Speaking at a security seminar for intending Certified Protection Officers in Lagos recently, Ekhomu indicated that drug abuse decreases productivity, increases work place accident and safety incidents and also results in greater absenteeism. “Drug abuse leads to an increase in workmen compensation costs and greater healthcare cost for company. In fact, it is a loss situation for the firm” he said.

“Psycho-active drugs alter the structure and function of the brain, including mood, peception or consciousness”, he said. Ekhomu identified marijuana, a drug that diminishes a user’s mental capacity as the most abused drug in Nigeria.

He expressed concern about increase in cocaine use in Nigeria especially since the highly addictive stimulant is native to far away South America.

Said he: “Increasingly, Nigeria is becoming a net consumer of hard drugs. Cocaine and amphetamines are being mixed with local… for long distance drivers. These have been a significant factor in road crashes.”

Speaking on youth militancy, Ekhomu said “these hard drugs when consumed by youths or by criminal elements give them a delusional feeling which diminishes human lives in their perception thereby increasing the potential for violent attacks, communal violence and political violence and attract on corporate assets.”

In that state, he said, they have no regard for human lives or private property. Ekhomu called for strengthening of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to take the leadership position in the fight against hard drug trafficking and abuse. He called for the formulation of a national drug control policy in order to checkmate the indiscriminate production, storage and usage of hard drugs.

He said in spite of the high level of abuse in the country; drugs like amphetaminesare not particularly on the radar of the NDLEA.

Ekhomu also urged corporate organisation to develop and enforce drug controlpolicies within their companies. “Companies must adopt a zero tolerance policy on drug abuse at the workplace.”

Security officers, he said, must learn the symptoms exhibited by drug abusers such as teary eyes, and running nose, slurred speech and constricted pupils, and drowsiness in order to assist management in detecting drug abuse in the workplace and follow up by…

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