By Emmanuel Acha
Enugu, June 26, 2021 Stakeholders in the campaign against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Enugu have appealed to the state government to strengthen the State Drug Control Committee for more efficiency.
The stakeholders made the appeal on Saturday in Enugu during the 2021 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking.
The Director, Pharmaceutical Services, Enugu State Ministry of Health, Mr Casmir Odo, said that the committee was established in 2018 with the state governor as chairman.
Odo, who was the chairman of the event, said that it had become necessary to strengthen the committee to effectively cover all facets of the state.
The director said that strengthening the committee would give impetus to achieving the desired goal.
He said that the National Drug Control Masterplan (2018-2020) being a roadmap to winning the crusade against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking had given everyone multi-strategic roles.
He said that all hands must be on deck to stifle and cut off illicit drugs supply chain in order to reduce their demand and usage.
Odo appealed to the young ones, especially, students to form network against the use and trafficking of illicit drugs.
In a lecture, the Head of Training, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu, Dr. Nneka Unogu, said that drug users needed to be decriminalised.
Unogu said that drug addiction needed to be seen as an illness that required treatment, adding that drug addicts needed not be prosecuted but rehabilitated.
She cautioned against stigmatisation of drug addicts and offenders, adding that the family needed to be loving as well as provide a safe environment for such people.
Unogu said that governments at all levels needed to prioritise public health over private business and should ban advertisements of psychotropic substances.
In a keynote address, the state governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, said that it was the responsibility of all stakeholders to fight trafficking and use of illicit drugs.
Ugwuanyi, who was represented by his Special Assistant on Narcotics, Mr Chidiebere Ogbogu, said that the state government would continue to give the needed support required in the crusade.
In a message to the event, the Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, said that trafficking and use of illicit drugs in Nigeria was alarming.
Marwa, who was represented by the NDLEA Commander in Enugu State, Mr Bassey Anietie, said that cannabis was the most widely abused substance in the country.
The chairman said that according to the National Drug Survey 2019, an estimated 10.6 million Nigerians used the substance, adding that some started smoking as early as age 19.
“The heterogeneity of abusers and traffickers of illicit drugs in Nigeria shows that this cankerworm has eaten deep into our society.
“It is not difficult to conclude that drugs have been catalysts of terrorism, kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery and various violent conflicts in the country,” he said.
Marwa called on all Nigerians to complement the efforts of the NDLEA in the crusade against use and trafficking of illicit drugs in the country.
Illicit drug: Stakeholders want Enugu Govt. to strengthen drug control committee
By Emmanuel Acha