The Lagos State Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr Agboola Dabiri, on Wednesday decried the rate of drug abuse and other social vices among the youth.

He said it was a menace which had become a “cankerworm”, vowing, however, that the state government was ready to tackle and fight it to a standstill.

Dabiri spoke at the ongoing annual ministerial briefing in Alausa to mark the third year of Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode in office.

The commissioner said that drug abuse among the youth had gone beyond the conventional use of marijuana and cigarette smoking.

“They are now into strange things like intake of codeine, tramadol, mixture of soda drinks and bleach, toothpaste, use of LCD tablets, even to the extent of the use of the venom of black mamba snake,” he said.

Dabiri said that the state government would intensify efforts on various opportunities for the youth, which include job creation, leadership and vocational training, among others.

“A lot of programmes have been lined up to tackle the menace and we will fight it to a standstill.

“We are equally engaging non governmental agencies and youth organisations for them to sensitise their members and youths on peaceful conduct,” the commissioner said.

According to him, the state government in 2016 developed and launched the state’s youth policy, a document guiding the conduct and affairs of youths in the state.

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He said that the government, to address the upsurge of youth unemployment, trained a total of 13, 314 youths in various vocations.

Dabiri said that the Ministry had also commenced the implementation of the Youth Economic Empowerment Scheme, where a total number of 900 youths were expected to be trained in various vocations over a 9-month period.

During the period under review, the commissioner said that 57,350 students benefitted from individual and group counselling sessions to curb truancy, gangsterism and other social vices.

He said that five pregnant students were assisted to access adequate antenatal and delivery services and were also integrated back to school.

Dabiri said 150 reported cases of sexual and physical abuse were treated, while with the introduction of the state’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy, more students and pupils were encouraged to report cases of abuse.

“The response has been helpful, effective and indeed created an open door for children and parents to sell information to us,” the commissioner said.

On rehabilitation services, he said that 1,680 beggars , destitute and mentally-challenged persons and street children were rescued off the streets, out of which 1299 rehabilitated were released to their relations for reintegration.

Dabiri said that 162 abandoned children were rescued during the period under review, comprising 62 male and 100 female.

On adoption and fostering services, he said 91 adoption cases were legalised at various family courts.

The commissioner said that the Ministry would continue to create an enabling environment that promotes youth and social development services, thereby giving succour to the vulnerable.