By Ibironke Ariyo
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA) has described the menace of drug abuse and trafficking in the country as worrisome, because of its ravaging effect on the society.
The NDLEA FCT Commander, Mr Kabir Tsakuwa, said at a press briefing on Tuesday in Abuja to herald the command’s grassroots sensitisation and awareness campaign on dangers of illicit drugs.
Tsakuwa said that though the agency has been making tremendous strides in addressing the challenges, more still needed to be done to stamp out the menace.
He said that the awareness campaign was part of strategies to prevent drug abuse among the country’s youth population.
The commander said that the campaign was being supported by an NGO, Nababa Global Concept Limited, and would target secondary schools students in the FCT.
“It is against this backdrop that we solicit your continuous collaboration and support in sustaining the gains recorded so far,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the programme is “Grassroots sensitisation and awareness campaign on dangers of illicit drugs.
Tsakuwa said that the 2018 National Drug Abuse and Health Survey report released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, made it imperative for Nigeria to respond with a strong, comprehensive, and well-coordinated mechanism to tackle drug abuse.
He recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had launched the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) campaign on June 26, 2021, as a social advocacy campaign strategy.
He added that it was designed to get every Nigerian involved in the task of ridding the country of drugs and other illicit substances.
“Higher institutions of learning, secondary and primary schools, places of work, motor parks, places of worship and communities among others, are targeted in the campaign by the agency in collaboration with other stakeholders.
“This week, we shall be carrying our sensitisation programmes in collaboration with Nababa Global Concept Limited, a NGO.
“This sensitisation programme is targeted at vulnerable groups and more especially, secondary school students as well as other groups in the FCT, “he said.
Earlier, the Director, Drug Demand Reduction, NDLEA, Dr Ngozi Madubuike, said that the agency had in the last 24 months intensified advocacy campaigns and sensitisation on the consequences of drug abuse and trafficking.
Madubuike said the campaign was to arouse the support of the general public while targeting different vulnerable groups including students.
She added that public servants, persons living in marginalised communities, worship places, religious, community and traditional institutions, military and paramilitary, among others, were also not left out.
According to her, data 2018 data on drug use revealed an estimated drug use prevalence in the North Central Zone at 10 per cent with about 1.5 million persons using psychoactive substances.
“The drug use prevalence in the FCT is 10 per cent with about 180,000 persons using psychoactive substances.
“Cannabis, cough syrups containing Codeine or dextromethorphan and pharmaceutical opioids including tramadol, codeine, morphine are the substances with high prevalence in the North Central Zone, including FCT.
“No doubt, evidence has shown that drug use in any society comes with devastating consequences that borders on the individual, family and the entire society,” she added.
Madubuike said that psycho-social interventions were made available to Persons Who Use Drugs (PWUDs) and their families through the agency’s counselling centres across the country
“We have also established a 24/7 call centre in the FCT Abuja for the PWUDs and their families,” she said.
Also speaking, head of the NGO, Mr Musa Nasamu said that the sensitisation programme was being carried out to make the society free of illicit drugs.
Nasamu said that the collaboration with the NDLEA was yielding positive results, adding that students would be sensitised on the dangers of taking illicit drugs and other substances.
“We will talk to them and let them know that illicit drug intake is not healthy” he added. (NAN)