The Vanguard Against Drug Abuse (VGADA) has warned Nigerian youths against consumption of illicit drugs and substances during the Christmas and New Year celebration.

The Executive Director, VGADA, Dr Hope Omeiza, gave the warning while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.

Omeiza said that drug abuse was capable of bringing about low level of commitment to education, family and higher truancy rates among adolescents and youths.

He said there was need for educating the youth on the dangers and consequences of drug abuse and how to avoid addiction.

He also said that yuletide season was for family reunions, adding that it was a season of love and laughter with joy, hence drug abuse should be avoided.

According to him, many see the festive season as a period of celebration, thereby indulging in substance abuse such as high consumption of alcoholic drinks, smoking marijuana and cannabis sativa.

“In Nigeria today, drug abuse has become a worrisome trend among the Nigerian youth. It is painful to see our youths wasting away for drugs and substance abuse.

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“Christmas and New Year celebration should not be an avenue to do drugs. Stay away from indiscriminate use of substances that could affect you and your health.

“Engage in a productive programme or activities that will add value to your life during this holiday, ” he said.

The NGO boss said that drug abuse could trigger increased risk of suicide and homicide among youths, thereby putting the family and the society at risk

He appealed to youths to shun actions and habits that could affect their health, thereby, affecting productivity and ultimately affecting the development of the country.

According to him, every Nigerian needs to understand they have a part to play in the fight against substance abuse and addiction

“I urge you all to join hands together with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other critical stakeholders in the fight against illicit drugs and substances abuse, ” he said. (NAN)