The Lagos State House of Assembly on Monday called on Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode and all relevant stakeholders to embark on aggressive campaign against drug abuse.
The call was contained in a resolution following a motion titled “Need to Curb the Menace of Drug Abuse Among Youths in Lagos State” moved by Mr Desmond Elliot (APC-Surulere I) and seconded by Mr Segun Olulade (APC-Epe II) on the floor of the House.
According to the lawmakers, the adverse effects of hard drugs on the youth and the society is huge, hence the need to check the trend.
Speaking on the impact of drugs, Elliot said that youths had formed the habit of using drugs to get high, perform better in certain situations, to change their perception of reality or for other purposes.
He listed the drugs to include: cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and Indian hemp consumption and now seemingly harmless over-the-counter drugs such as cough syrups with codeine, rubber, gum, septic tank fumes, urine concentrates, Colorado, skushi, loud and kerosene gas.
“The House is aware that youths now abuse a combination of these substances with two popular drugs; tramadol and codeine which are commonly used for the treatment of cough and severe pains.
“The House is concerned that those mostly involved in this practice are unqualified pharmacists, nurses and road side hawkers selling to these young people who consequently commit sexual crimes and other violent acts.
“This House is worried that this abuse has damning and adverse health effects, which include mental disorder, liver cirrhosis and many socio-economic consequences like school dropout, cultism, armed robbery and other related crimes in the state.
“The House called on the Chairman, Task Force on Environment and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit to carry out strict enforcement against sale of drugs by road side hawkers,” he said.
The House also called on the Pharmaceutical Board to direct its members to restrain from selling drugs particularly those that required prescription over the counter without prescription from qualified physicians.
The lawmakers also called on relevant authorities to wake up to their responsibilities and address issues relating to the sales, distribution and circulation of the said drugs and other ones.
In his contribution, Prince Bisi Yusuff (APC-Alimosho I), said that lack of good parenting had aggravated the proliferation of the abuse of hard drugs among youths while many had been sent to their early graves.
Yusuff, who commended the prime mover, urged the House to call on Ambode to expedite action in signing the Mental Health Bill into law and ensure its implementation to curb the effect of hard drugs.
Mrs Adefunmilayo Tejuoso (APC-Mushin I), said that the issue should not be taken with levity, saying that the government needed to look into the activities of chemists (licenced and unlicensed).
The Majority Leader of the House, Mr Sanai Agunbiade, described drug abuse among youths as “a big threat to the nation,” calling for apprehension of drug addicts and engaging them in community service.
In his ruling, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, the Speaker, called on artistes to collaborate with the government in the campaign against drug abuse and urged legislators to embark on advocacy at their respectively constituencies.
Obasa, who called for aggressive campaign and sensitisation on the ills of taking hard drugs, however, warned against indiscriminate closure of shops.