By Evelyn Usman
The Nigerian Society of Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Professionals, ISSUP Nigeria has applauded the Federal Government over its proposed plan to phase out high concentration alcohol in sachets, small PET, and glass bottles, describing it as a step in the right direction to curbing abuse.
The National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC recently announced this move, following a report that alcohol consumption contributed to three million deaths each year, globally, as well as to the disabilities and poor the health of millions of people.
NAFDAC also described uncontrolled access and availability of high concentration alcohol in sachet and small volume PET or glass bottles as a factor contributing to substance and alcohol abuse in Nigeria, with its negative impact on society.
Throwing his weight behind the proposed ban, the national President, ISSUP Nigeria, Dr. Martin Agwogie said, “Recent studies have raised concerns on the increasing rate of the use and abuse of alcohol with the attendant economic, social, and medical adverse effects upon the individual, family, and community”.
He, therefore, called on all stakeholders in the field of drug demand reduction in the country to support this move, expressing worry over the involvement of children and adolescents in the consumption of high concentration alcohol.
He said: “alcohol has become more readily available in small sachets with extremely high concentration, cheap, and appearing more attractive to the young ones. Alcohol is now easier and cheaper to get in some communities than to get water.
“The human brain is not fully developed until the early 20s. Therefore, we must protect the young ones against the use of any psychoactive substance, including alcohol”, he said, even as he pledged the association’s commitment and support towards enforcement of evidence-based drug and substance abuse control policies.