Pharmacist Group, LASG Push Drug Abuse Campaign To School Students

By BENJAMIN OMOIKE

A professional group, the Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALPs), and the Lagos State Government (LASG), have fortified a push for interest-building-courses to schools in the state, in a bid to develop the interest of students in pharmacy as a career, while developing resistance against drug abuse.

Both pharmacist stakeholders and the govermment believed taking programmed-campaign and talks to schools were strategic to building interest in students towards pharmacy as a profitable and credible profession, while developing deterrence against drug abuse.

The National Chairman, Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALPs), Pharm. Victoria Ukwu, at the occasion of an Interschool Quiz Competition/Award of Scholarships, organised by ALPs held as part of the activities of the Association’s 15th Biennial National Conference tagged “Eko 2022”, told newsmen that taking the campaign against drug abuse to the four walls of the classrooms was essential.

She argued that it was a phenomenon that must be given continuous fight to enlighten students, in particular, against the menace.”Drug abuse is really a global pandemic and it really requires the efforts of ever-one, not only pharmacists. It is not only what you will fight for a year or two, it is a continuous issue that one needs to attack and that is why the Association of Lady Pharmacists is involved in catching them (students) young to prevent our students; and that is why we are here with our students to talk to them and educate them on the menace of drug abuse,” Ukwu said.

She mentioned that “the fight is on” and “a lot of women groups are into educating not only students, but also adults and every-one in the society about the menace of substance abuse.”Chairman ALPs, Lagos State Chapter, Dr. Afusat Adesina, in her remarks, said the Association was looking up to the students to develop interests in the field of pharmacy. According to her, the quiz was designed to build the capacities of the student towards responsiveness to credible profession.She maintained that of the 26th States where the Association is active, Lagos is one of the vibrant and fore most.

Taking of the school campaigns, she said the organisation do embark on moral campaign for students in secondary school against drug abuse and misuse, hygiene and career talks.

She said ignorance and peer group pressure were some of the factors instigating drug abuse among students. “By and large, these awareness and sensitisation talks has been very impactful in the community because we see some of them coming after the talk to ask questions which after explanation you see them feeling much better,” she said.

According to her, the organisation was committed to render help to the less privileged through various Corporate Social Responsibility interventions. She said the student forms critical part of the theme of the 15th Biennial Conference tagged “Pharmaceutical Value Chain for Optimal Utilisation: Where are we?”, as Lagos host the conference for the 7th time.The Commissioner of Education, Lagos State, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo appreciated the Association for its drug abuse campaign with visits to schools against the menace, saying it was “saving lives of children.”She lamented the prevalence of drug abuse among students, calling on more strategic groups to strengthen the campaign.

“I want to thank the Association of Lady Pharmacists for the work you do, especially visiting the schools on the issue of drug abuse. It has become so prevalent in our society and schools have become the frontline for this issue. “We thoroughly recognise what you are doing; it is saving lives of our students. It’s very commendable and fantastic,” she said.

Calling for other organisations to join the fight, she said: “We want people to come into our schools, talk with our tutor generals, talk with the ministry of education, tell us what you want to do. Lagos is yours. Do every thing to ensure the children are doing splendidly well.” According to her, the quiz competition was veritable to “enlighten the children so much” and build their interest in the pharmacy profession.

“We recognised your vibrancy and we are hoping that so many of our students, especially the girls would see and not be scared of science and go straight into pharmacy,” the Commissioner who was represented by the Director Legal Department, Adefehinti Ogbemudia, Lagos State Ministry of Education. The Chairman of the Occasion, Dr. Celina Ogah, in her remarks, appreciated the Lagos State Government for support and the dedication to the course of the orientation.

She mentioned education remain a critical institution in the society, charging the students to be committed to their careers in preparation for the future.

“Education is your passport to the future and tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today,” she said.

She recognised the roles of teachers in the society in nurturing great minds, saying their roles must be acknowledged.”We know that teachers are great indeed and the reason why they are great among the professionals is not far fetched – because they nurture,” she said.

The Chairman Planning Committee, Pharmacist Monica Hemben Eimunjeze, said the issue of drug abuse and misuse is a fight that must be taken seriously among the young people as future of tomorrow.

“The young people must have an understanding of the impacts that this can have to avoid bad situations.

“We believe if we encourage the young ones to get into that profession, it will also help them, and they would be of benefit to the society and also help to fight against this menace,” she said.

The 10 schools which participated in the quiz with two representative each, include: Agidingbi Senior Grammar School, Agidingbi; Army Cantonment Senior Secondary School; Bolade Senior Grammar School; Ikeja Senior Grammar School; Army Children Senior High School, Ikeja; Community Senior High School, Wasimi Maryland; State Senior High School, Ikeja; Ikeja Senior High School, GRA, Ikeja; Oshodi Senior High School; and Unity Senior High School, Oshodi.

The winning side were Ikeja Senior Grammar School (1st); Community Senior High school (2nd), while Oshodi Senior High school emerged 3rd.

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