According to a report by Punch Metro, a nongovernmental organisation, Come Alive Initiative, on Tuesday raised the alarm over the use of Indian hemp as gift items during public functions in Onitsha and environs.
The organisation alleged that Indian hemp is sometimes served at burial ceremonies and other private functions to willing guests.
The national coordinator of the CAI, Mr. Victor Enwezor, raised the concerns during a symposium on drug abuse in Onitsha to mark this year’s International Drug Day, themed, “Drug/Substance Abuse: Its effects on the socio-economic development of communities.”
Enwezor said that drug abuses had posed socio-economic challenges to the development of Onitsha.
He said, ”If you come to some burial ceremonies or other events here in Onitsha, you will see cannabis wrapped like pills and served in tray with lighters.
“These things are in the open and nobody seems to want to talk about it.
“We need to begin to expose some of these things, unless we want to continue to live in illusion.”
Enwezor said the purpose of CAI was to end the menace in Onitsha and environs.
While urging government to resist any temptation to legalise hard drugs, Enwezor said security institutions and the judiciary should be equipped and funded to tackle what he called “inducement of officials by drug barons.”
He said that CAI, in the past three years, had rehabilitated 28 victims of drug abuse, while 11 others were undergoing treatment.
Speaking, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, said drug abuse and cultism were the major causes of crime in the area and called on parents and guardians to monitor their children.
Achebe, who hailed CAI for its efforts in rehabilitating drug victims, called for the sustenance of the awareness.
In his speech, the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Garba Umar, warned youths to avoid drug offences or face the wrath of the law.