by Deborah Uzoma

On June 7, 2024, Lois Chioma Uzoma, a global youth advisor for Art of Health in Nigeria, spearheaded a substance abuse awareness campaign at Maclesley International School in Owerri, Imo State.

In her opening remarks, Lois welcomed the students and staff, emphasizing the campaign’s goal to educate young people about the dangers of drug abuse and addiction. She disclosed that Art of Health is a Wellcome Trust-funded initiative by The Health Research Unit Zimbabwe (THRU Zim) at the Biomedical Research and Training Institute, in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Ardent Creative. Lois encouraged students to use their creativity to promote health and well-being while steering clear of substance abuse.

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She praised the initiative and explained that children grew up in different homes and environments. Mrs Omenuwa stressed the need to guide children towards positive thinking and inform them about drug abuse’s effects.She further called for an extension of the awareness campaign globally.

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One of the school teachers, Victoria Uzoma provided an overview of Drug abuse and its effect, using relatable examples.

The guest speaker , Joseph Edoh, a former drug addict turned software engineer, threw everyone in a stream of emotions as he shared  his story. 

Mr Joseph urged the youths to be mindful of their friends and associates. He stressed the importance of living a purposeful life and being guided by positive influences.

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The event featured engaging activities such as scramble games, drama, songs, and mimes performed by students and volunteers. Feedback was gathered, and refreshments were provided, leaving participants both informed and inspired.