By Effiong Deborah
Students of the University of Calabar (UNICAL) have been admonished on ways to stay away from all forms of drug abuse, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and other negative vices that will be detrimental to their academic success and future.
The advice came at the graduation of peer educators four days training at the University of Calabar Sport For Life; an initiative of the Vice Chancellor Prof. Florence Obi in partnership with Aids Healthcare Foundation held at Hall 10, Female Hostel in the school, is geared to enable healthy behavior against HIV, drugs, and substance abuse, held in the varsity.
Types, reasons, and prevention of drug abuse were also discussed in the exercise where students bared their minds on issues relating to drug addiction and how to maintain healthy relationships while in school and out of school.
They were also taught good communication skills and enjoined to speak up whenever youthful life is not clearer to them.
The Deputy Director, Office of Strategic Fund Management and Alumni of the institution, Grace Ibor said the training is pertinent because of the increasing rate of drug abuse and addictions found amongst young people, especially in higher institutions.
“Drug use has become a very big problem in Nigeria, especially among young people. If you go through the world you will see examples and terminologies of all the drugs that people abuse.
“Like recently a lot of students have been withdrawn from school. We are not saying because they do drugs, but because of a lot of challenges they go through and these challenges hamper their academic performance. We are looking at a situation where we are able to help the university students have a safe space where they can talk about their challenges, whether it has to do with academic or self-development. The whole of this environment is called the University of Calabar Youth Friendly Hub.”
“The question should be the relationship between stress and drug use. You know from use you graduate to addiction. It’s the addiction we are trying to address. So to address addiction we first need to address drug use and a lot of issues with stress.
She said apart from linking drug use and HIV transmission there is an increased rate of gender-based violence.
Grace disclosed that the idea of the activity in UNICAL is due to its population of over 43,000 young persons in the varsity, adding that: “We are recommending other universities, not just the University of Calabar” to do the same.