• Says 10% of Kaduna People abuse drugs

By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo 

Director-General, Kaduna State Bureau for Substance Abuse, Prevention and Treatment (KADBUSA), Dr Joseph Maigari, has described Nigeria as a drug consuming nation. 

He said about 10.9% of people in Kaduna state were involved in drug abuse.

He said Nigeria has moved from being a drug transit nation to a consumers nation, which has contributed in no small measure to the security challenges facing the country.

He attributed the transition of the country to the failure of the authorities to pay attention to drugs abuse while fighting suppliers of drugs many years ago.

“Drug abuse is one of the root causes of banditry and another form of insecurity in Nigeria,  it has become a pandemic, with about 10.9% of people in Kaduna state involved in drug abuse,” he said. 

Dr Maigari stated this at a stakeholders’ meeting with civil society groups and non-governmental organizations on Wednesday at the headquarters of the Bureau in Kaduna.

According to him, “the prevalence of substance abuse started many years back when Nigeria became a transit point for drug traffickers to Europe. However, inadequate efforts to address the challenge through the supply side, while leaving the demand side contributed immensely to the huge growth of the challenge. 

“There are consequences of substance abuse in terms of banditry and security challenges in the country. It’s actually a pandemic. About 10.9% of people in Kaduna state are involved in drug abuse, it is a huge problem from when Nigeria was a transit country to Europe. 

“That was when we should have started planning to address it. Some efforts were made in drug supply reduction space through NDLEA and other security agencies but now it’s clear that it is not supply-side alone because there is the demand side. That is why in Kaduna state we are looking at it from both the demand and supply sides. We have made progress in demand reduction as Kaduna state was the first to engage in the legislative and legal framework.

“Drug abuse is the next big problem on health, that is why there is need for adequate sensitisation, public enlightenment and education to achieve behavioural change and ensure that young people stay away from drug abuse, which is why Kaduna state government decided to engage all the people involved in the demand side from government and non-government bodies.”

While speaking on the essence of the stakeholders’ meeting, the KADBUSA DG said the meeting will help his Bureau to carry out a mapping to know who is where so that they can engage their programmes across the three senatorial zones and 23 local government areas. “Drug abuse, drug addiction are medical diagnoses, we want to work hard on prevention before attacking the other aspects using the HIV/AIDS model.”

A civil society organisation led by Hajiya Aliko Mohammed urged the stakeholders to focus on the root causes not only the effect. 

“I think it’s important to look at schools and introduce it into the curriculum maybe five minutes every day to create awareness”, the NGO said. 

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