Chairman National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Marwa (retd.), His Royal Highness Etsu Nupe and the Initiative Against Substance Addiction in Nigeria (IAASAN) Chairman Board of Trustees, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, and other stakeholders have called for collaborative effort against substance addiction and abuse.
They made the call at the 2022 IAASAN and NDLEA Drug Awareness Conference held, Thursday, at the Nigeria Army Resource Centre, Abuja.
IAASAN is a non-governmental organisation driven by patriotic and humanitarian considerations to support governmental efforts to curb the menace of substance and drugs abuse in tandem with ongoing efforts at promoting rehabilitation, reorientation and creation of awareness/health centres for the youth.
Speaking on the theme, “Drug and Substance Abuse: The Effective on Mental Health and National Security”, NDLEA chairman lamented that abuse of illicit drugs has destroyed Nigerian youth, families and communities.
Marwa pointed out that, there is a link between substance abuse and the widespread insecurity that is prevalent in the country.
The NDLEA Chairman who acknowledged that drug abuse and addiction have reached a monstrous proportion in Nigeria disclosed that “the country’s drug use prevalence, as of 2018, was 14.4%, which is almost three times the global average of 5.6%.
He added that “Nigeria, among other countries, has a very high number of people who abuse cannabis, with approximately 10.6 million cannabis users in 2018.
“Three, our country has the unenviable profile of being a leading drug trafficking hub in Africa. The arrest of 18, 940 drug traffickers in the last 18 months is an indication of the magnitude of the problem, and indeed a problem with dire consequences, Marwa noted.
On what the agency is doing to tackle this menace, he explained that aside NDLEA’s arrests, prosecutions, convictions and seizures, the agency is scaling up efforts for the prevention, treatment, care and rehabilitation of drug-dependent individuals.
“We have counselled, treated and rehabilitated not less than 12, 326 in the past 18 months in collaboration with the support of UNODC we have launched standard guidelines for our counselling in all our centres.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Etsu Nupe expressed concern about the escalation witnessed in the trafficking and use of unwholesome substances and drugs in society, especially among the youths and adult population alike.
IAASAN BoT chairman noted that “It requires collective action for the needed stability, progress and overall development for societal and family wellbeing.
In his brief remarks, Secretary of the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Blueprint Newspapers Limited and Kakaaki Nupe, Alhaji Mohammed Idris Malagi, assured that the media will continue to give the required support in the fight against drug abuse and substance addiction.
The NPAN scribe assured that, like they have been doing, newspapers and other media organisations will continue to educate Nigerians on the drug scourge.
Similarly, IAASAN Chief Executive Officer, Princess Hauwa Raphael described the prevailing drug issues as a mileage that is ravaging the country.
She lamented that drug abuse and addiction are fast destroying the mental health of users and promoting criminal activities.