By Ibironke Ariyo
Abuja – Dr Hope Abraham of Vanguard Against Drug abuse (VGADA), a Non-Governmental Organisation, has expressed worry over the abuse of prohibited substances among Nigerian youths.
Abraham, the President of VGADA, in an Interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday, decried the trend of youths reportedly mixing grey hair with marijuana and consuming the mixture.
He said members of the organisation in Benue reported the development and added that efforts were on to check the trend.
“It was one of our members, who conducted an interview with one of the drug addicts during a sensitisation programme recently held at one of the black spots in Benue, that blew it open.
“The drug addict said in the interview that some of them had contacts with barbers to get those hairs from them.
“Grey hairs are no food. As a doctor (I know that) as we grow older, the pigment cells in our hair follicles gradually die.
“When there are fewer pigment cells in a hair follicle, that strand of hair will no longer contain as much melanin and will become a more transparent colour like grey, silver or white as it grows.
“I am surprised that some persons have found grey hair as an interesting substance to get intoxicated on.
“The drug addict confirms that smoking grey hair is an alternative to smoking weed and that it is more intoxicating than the normal black hair,” he said.
Abraham said that it was important for all to come together and ensure this new worrisome trend did not spread.
“Although the substance has no name yet and it has not yet escalated, we have come across someone into it.
“And you know what, everyday, new substances of intoxication are coming up and young people are trying new ways on how to get intoxicated.
“It is a new trend by the youth. We have started counselling the ones we came in contact with and we would start sensitisation as soon as possible to ensure this doesn’t spread,” he said.
Ibrahim said the organisation had concluded plans to hold a national sensitisation campaign against the use of prohibited substances by youths in the country.
He noted that this strategy would help to spread the message faster, adding that the group had already conducted several campaigns against the dangers of drug abuse and urged the youth to shun the act.
“Last year, Dec.13, we held a rally against “Drug abuse and Election violence’ and the turnout was massive.
“We don’t intend to stop there, as we are planning to organise a National Campaign which would last for six months.
“We would move from one state to the other. Secondary schools for a start because we need to catch them young and educate them on the dangers of abusing illicit drugs.
“The campaign is a continuous thing and it will dwell more on this new found substance by the Nigerian youth,“ he said.
He said the major problems driving youths into drugs were idleness, curiosity and peer pressure.
“When you are idle, you are not engaging in anything, you want to try what others are doing and you have friends that are into drugs, you are endangering your life.’’
Abraham advised parents to become more observant of their children’s behaviours and know their friends as a way of reducing drug abuse.