As NDLEA record’s cases of Addicted Children Killing Parents over refusal to fund drug consumption

By Kingsley Omonobi – Abuja

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency on Tuesday raised the alarm that about 3 million Nigerians are suffering from Drug Use Disorder as a result of Cannabis, Meth and other dangerous drugs consumption, with cases of addicted Children killing their Parents over refusal to give them funds to buy drugs and Couples’ chasing each other with knives for the kill after getting high on drugs being recorded in certain instances.

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, NADLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa while making this known at the opening of a workshop on Drug Prevention, Treatment and Care (DPTC) for Governor’s Wives in Abuja, said, “This is the findings of a recent drugs survey which suggests that 1 in 5 persons (of approximately 3 million Nigerians) who had used drugs was suffering from Drug Use Disorder, with no less than 155, 000 among them in dire need of medical treatment, at this time”.

He however declared, “The situation is not altogether irredeemable. Indeed, the situation can be salvaged, reversed and controlled―only if we move quickly, and adopt strong, well-conceived, coordinated and holistic measures, of which this workshop is a part of the process.

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According to him, “The Drug Prevention Treatment and Care (DPTC) training is designed to enhance the capacities of stakeholders to implement evidence-based drug prevention education programmes, as well as enhance accessibility of treatment and care for those with Substance Use Disorder and also facilitate their social reintegration where and when necessary

Marwa continued, “There have been a series of DPTC training, but this one is historic as an indication of the resolution by the Nigeria Governors Wives Forum to play a key role in the country’s renewed war against drugs.

“This workshop is of great significance to the strategic effort to control the abuse, trafficking and consequences of illicit drugs in our country.  The objective, in the end, is to improve our skills and optimize our capacity to counter the drug phenomenon.

“Just last year, the World Drug Report 2021 warned of a likely 11% increase in the number of people who abuse illicit substances over the next eight years.

“About 40% of that increase is projected to come from Africa alone. When they say Africa, we should think of Nigeria, the most populous country on the continent.

“These are the bases for our renewed effort to muzzle the illicit drug problem quickly and pre-empt what could, in the nearest future, become a full-blown epidemic and a new problem area for the continent and our country.

“The past 16 months have witnessed an unprecedented variety and volume of activities by NDLEA to address the drug situation.

“The ones you are most familiar with are the drug supply reduction activities, such as drug seizures, arrests, prosecutions and convictions of traffickers.

“Within this spectrum, we were able to mop up over 3.4 kilograms of assorted drugs in 2021, which, together with cash seized, was worth over 150 billion naira.

“In the process, we arrested 12, 306 traffickers of which 1,385 were jailed.

This year, as at the end of May, NDLEA has seized approximately 155, 000 kilograms of drugs and recorded 5, 341 arrests and 984 convictions.

“Likewise, Nigeria has also become a producer of and a market for Crystal Methamphetamine known locally as Mkpuru Mmiri.

“We all witnessed the havoc unleashed by this highly dangerous illicit substance in the Southeast region of the country last year.

“As if that is not enough, we have also become a dumping ground for illicit pharmaceutical opioids, especially codeine and tramadol, just as we remain Africa’s major transit country for cocaine and heroin.

“As we all are aware, the drug problem has become one of the world’s greatest challenges that threaten the well-being of human society. Consequences of drug abuse, including chronic health conditions and untimely death, are existential threats that cannot be ignored by any responsible government.

“Sadly, Nigeria is not insulated against this problem. Our country presently has some alarming drug statistics. For example, we are a major cannabis cultivating and consuming country.

“Four years ago, we had 10.6 million users of the psychoactive plant, which made Nigeria the world’s leading cannabis-consuming country.

“Four years ago, the National Drug Use Survey conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, showed that the drug use prevalence in Nigeria is 14.4%.

“This is relatively high compared to the annual global average of 5.5%. That we have 14.3 million of our compatriots who abused drugs is food for thought.

“Meanwhile, in the background, we are also ramping up drug demand reduction activities such as counselling, treatment, care and rehabilitation with steady progress.

“From January 2021 to May 2022, a total of 11, 523 drug users have been counselled and treated in NDLEA facilities mostly through brief interventions.

“Still, we devote equal resources, energy and enthusiasm to Drug Use Prevention, which is calculated to shield the vulnerable groups, especially youths, from experimenting with illicit substances.

“The dynamics of the Drug Use Prevention approach entails reaching out to the grassroots, especially communities in local government areas of states.

“The mechanism for this assignment is the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) initiative, launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on June 26, 2021. Since the launch, I had led a delegation to states, to political, religious and traditional leaders, as a way of giving impetus to this assignment.

“Subsequently, NDLEA delegations from state commands have embarked on WADA mission to the offices of Your Excellency’s in your respective state, as we count on your support and active participation in achieving the WADA goals.

“At the conclusion of the workshop, we expect that participants will have a better understanding of the dynamics of the illicit substance conundrum and therefore be in a vantage position to protect our society from its corrosive impact. 

“As a critical stakeholder group, the training will put you in the driving seat to effect far-reaching changes in the effort to protect members of society who are most susceptible to the use and abuse of illicit drugs. 

“The position occupied by Your Excellencie’s affords you the leverage to make a difference in communities in your various states.

“In this regard, Your excellences’, may I advise that we give priority to the functionality of the State Drug Control Committee, SDCC.  

“The SDCC remains a potent coordination platform for fostering inter-agency collaboration to address drug demand reduction and implement other related measures at the state level.

“To boost the activities of the SDCC in the states, I enjoin you to encourage the committees to develop their work plans in line with their stated roles in the National Drug Control Master Plan, NDCMP 2021-2025”.

Wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo who was the guest of honour at the occasion described the workshop and partnership with wives of state governors to tackle thale cankerworm as a welcome development.

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