The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, or World Drug Day, is marked on June 26 every year and is aimed at creating awareness about the dangers of the illicit use of drugs.
This year’s theme, “Share Facts On Drugs, Save Lives”, encourages the public to get information about drugs from reliable sources such as the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
This is to increase knowledge of drug-related health risks, drug policies, and approaches to preventing and combating addiction in order to achieve a world free of drug abuse.
Several individuals and organizations have lent their voices and resources to combat drug abuse around the world. In Bayelsa State, one of such organizations stands tall and has been a foremost voice in the campaign for several years.
Teens Invasion Club (TIC), founded by a Teens Coach and Mentor Consultant, Mrs. Olanari Ogregade has been a vocal voice in exposing youths to the dangers of drug abuse in Bayelsa State.
Through her non-denominational and non profitable Organization, TIC, she birthed UNDRUG, which is a movement targeted at enlightening young people to shun drug abuse, which she has done in collaboration with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
In a chat with Nigerdeltaconnect, she said the UNDRUG movement has recorded great success since its inception and has taken their campaign to the streets and schools around the state, clamouring for a drug-free society.
She said the vision of the TIC is to raise productive and influencial young minds who can influence their sphere positively, and one of the ways to ensure this is by living drug free.
“In the course of walking/working with young people I eventually realized that there is a lot they do under negative influences, and Drug/Substance Abuse is also a negative influence.
“The word UNDRUG is grammatically incorrect but that’s our Message. UNDRUG simply means PULL OFF drugs, take it off from your life and system.
“Our first outing was in June, 2018. It was a School Tour, Street Rally/Campaign and we also invited the students at a venue where we also invited officers of the NDLEA, and doctors to come sensitize the young ones on the dangers of drug abuse.
“In June 2019, we also did Schools Tours, where we gave out informative and educational materials with various inscriptions/write ups. It was actually a three days project”.
Mrs. Ogregade noted that although the Covid-19 pandemic affected their activities in 2020, they were still able to carry out some sensitization campaigns on the streets and some communities in the state.
She stated that in the last four years, they have helped drug addicts with rehabilitation in partnership with the NDLEA and also appreciated her team and partners for being supportive over the years.
She said, “Again, in June 2020, we couldn’t go to schools because of the pandemic but we went out to the streets and hoods.
“It was also a three days project. We went to Yenagoa town, Swali, Azikoro, shared stickers with “Say No to Drug Abuse” messages. Then, the last day was for Imiringi Town, where a Mini Billboard was mounted with our UNDRUG: say no to Drug Abuse the Negative Influencer.
“June 2021 is here and Schools Tour has started already. So, for four years TEENS INVASION CLUB has been spreading the message of UNDRUG. Our aim is to see a drug-free society, it may not be in a day but the message is on doorposts, tricycles, school bags, etc.
“We’ve had calls from those that want to quit. We counsel and make recommendations to NDLEA for rehab. We’ve been on this for four years and we’ll still keep pressing. For my Team, they have been very supportive and our partners too”.
She said the slogan of the Teens Invasion Club is Breeding Excellent Minds and one sure way to achieve that is by building a drug-free society.