The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has called for collective efforts to address the challenges of substance abuse as no fewer than 14 per cent of Nigerians abuse different substances through addiction.
The Assistant Comptroller General, Narcotics, Mr Abdullahi Baba-Husseini, made this call on Saturday at the opening of a Capacity Building on Addiction Prevention Workshop for Community-Based NGOs in Abuja.
He listed the substances mostly used as tramadol, Benylin with codeine, saying it was a matter for regret that a high percentage of women now abuse drugs.
While commending the organisers of the workshop, Baba-Husseini stressed the need for more interventions with the emerging trends of technology addiction.
He said the agency has stepped up strategies to create awareness on drug abuse and its dangers, calling on state governments to include drug education in the school curriculum.
He noted that with the inclusion of drug education in schools’ curriculum, young persons would be aware of the dangers inherent in indiscriminate drug use.
According to him, they will also be conscious of their environment and avoid the peer pressure that may likely cause drug dependency.
“As an organisation, what is more, worrisome now is the issue of substance abuse among women.
“It is also sad that those who inject drugs are more at risk, as the level of dependence is sad.
“Presently, we are at the forefront of fighting substance abuse, because the statistics show that about 14 per cent of Nigerians use all kinds of substance, and we need collective efforts to reduce the menace,’’ he said.
He added that with a rising population, the agency had low manpower to tackle the growing addiction, saying that more partnership was needed to reverse the trend.
Earlier, Dr Mohammed Audi, National President, Green Crescent Health Initiative Nigeria, said the organisation focuses on finding solutions to the increasing rate of all forms of addiction.
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According to him, the use of alcohol, tobacco, drug abuse and unhealthy behavioural and gaming addictions were a major threat to attaining sustainable development goals.
Audi said that unhealthy use of technology caused health, social, economic and spiritual harms to individual, families, communities and the society at large.
He said that the Community-based organisations were concerned about the health and welfare of the region, calling for urgent action to address drug abuse problem including behavioural addiction.
He emphasised that keeping drug use prevalence low and continually reducing it remained the vest prevention method.
“Preventing harm from occurring is the most cost-effective, humane and sustainable way to reduce adduction and addiction-related harms, saving lives, strengthening communities among others.
“The CSOs were of the opinion that drug policies must be human rights-based, gender-sensitive and age-appropriate.
“We affirm the importance of creating evidence-based recovery-oriented systems of care that provide comprehensive interventions, ranging from early intervention to abstinence.
“Rehabilitation and social reintegration with the goal of supporting people with addiction problems and disorders to reach their full potentials,” he said.
He called on the government to invest more in the health-promoting environments to achieve health, well-being and development for all.
Audi declared the commitment of CSOs to collaborate at all levels in support of grassroots participation in the global policy process.
This, he said, was to amplify the voices of the silent majority in building and sustaining an addiction-free world.
The workshop was in collaboration with the International Federation of Green Crescent.