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DELSU VC Declares War Against Drug Abuse

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DELSU VC Declares War Against Drug Abuse

By Ben Nwanne

Determined to do something about the menace of drug abuse on the society and particularly the campuses, the management of Delta State University, Abraka (DELSU) in collaboration with a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO),Wisdom Class Foundation, has declared War Against Drug Abuse (WADA), and inaugurated a “DELSU Drug Free Day”, to sensitize the University community against the dangers of irresponsible drug use.

Speaking at the occasion, which held at the 750 Hall A, Campus 3, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andy Egwunyenga alerted his audience, mostly staff and students, of the potentials of drug abuse “to derail the promising future of our students and devastate the fabric of our University community.

“In recent years, the prevalence of drug abuse among young people has reached alarming levels. The consequences of drug abuse are not only damaging to individuals but also to the entire society. It tears families apart, leads to academic underachievement, jeopardizes future career prospects and poses a grave threat to the health and safety of those involved.”

The Professor of Parasitology and Public Health noted that the first step in combating drug abuse was to acknowledge its existence and understand how it could insidiously infiltrate lives, adding that it was during the undergraduate days that many individuals were introduced to drug and substance abuse.

“This is why it is imperative that we arm you with the knowledge and resilience to resist these destructive influences”, he explained.

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Professor Egwunyenga who has been giving the University an enlightened and committed leadership, assured that as part of the sensitization campaign, the University would be organizing workshops, seminars and informational sessions led by experts in the field of substance abuse and mental health.

His words: “These sessions will cover a broad spectrum of topics, including the physical and psychological effects of various substances, the warning signs of addiction and the avenues for seeking help and support. Our aim is to foster a culture of open dialogue and awareness, where no student feels alone or ashamed to seek help when confronted with substance-related challenges”.

Welcoming guests to the event, the founder of Wisdom Class Foundation, Dr. Uche Esegbue explained that the essence of the occasion was to sensitize the entire University community to the problem of drug abuse, to wake up the authorities concerned to act and tame the ugly trend and also to mobilize support for addicts and victims of drug abuse.

The medical doctor said he was motivated to do something because the problem of drug abuse which sometimes degenerated to suicide, was escalating and not much was being done about it. He called for all hands to be on deck to ameliorate the huge problem of drug abuse.

Describing the problem of drug abuse as hydra-headed, he called for concerted efforts to mitigate what he called a “global pandemic” with the capacity to destroy individuals and institutions. He situated the plight of the drug addict as social lepers who had been considered as “useless” and abandoned by friends, colleagues and society.

Dr. Esegbue, who led a road work in sensitization of the plight of drug addicts and to discourage ‘new recruits’ explained that a drug addict was in a pitiable situation, as he/she might not even agree there was a problem, and as such would not seek solution from any quarters. The public-hearted doctor said that the victims needed care. “That is what we want to do but we lack the funds”, he explained. “We urge the University community to rally round them. We want to be the pivot of their support”.

Presenting the keynote address, entitled, “Psychosocial Support for Drug Abusers: Role of the School, Lecturers and Parents/Guardians”, Dr. Israel Adaigho, a Consultant Mental Health Physician and Head of Department at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, defined a drug as “any chemical substance which, when taken into the body, alters its functions, physically and psychologically”.

In the well thought through and comprehensive lecture, Dr. Adaigho described drug abuse to include taking a drug when not prescribed or when not necessary, use of substance illegally, use of a substance to alter the biological and psychological functioning and using a substance to change the usual body mood, behaviour, libido, energy and weight or shape or look.

He identified some substances taken by some youths to include but not limited to lipton soaked with regal gin, tramadol, codeine, rohypnol, dry pawpaw leaves hypo in lacasera, spirogyra, and ten days urine.

The medical doctor of high standing explained some risk factors in drug abuse to include substance use by family members, the rebelliousness of youth, curiousity, adventure seeking, association with deviant peers who use drugs, among others while a reversal of the above could be protective factors against drug abuse. According to the amiable doctor, there were signs and symptoms associated with drug abuse such as physical or behavioural symptoms, (most likely both), adding that it was important to watch out for any significant changes in the person’s physical appearance, personality, attitude or behaviour. Describing drug as “robber”, the experienced doctor called for a concerted effort in which all-including parents, schools, lecturers/teachers, peers should be part of the rehabilitation of the drug addict using the four key roles of engagement, motivation, support and advice.

While inaugurating the Drug-free club, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Egwunyenga congratulated the volunteers for being altruistic as the engagement would task their time, energy and finance in an effort to make DELSU a drug-free University.

The event had in attendance the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Professor (Mrs) Rosemary Okoh; the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Ochuko Anomohanran; the Provost, Oleh Campus, Professor Elo Ibagere; the Registrar, Mrs. Rufina Ufiofio, represented by Mr. Emmanuel Okoro, a Deputy Registrar; the Bursar, Mrs. Otimeyin Ekakite-Omojuwa; the University Librabrian, Dr. (Mrs), Josephine Onowhakpo; Deans and Directors and other senior University staff.

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