…As Doctor calls for awareness on negative consequences of abuse

 

Abiodun OBA

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), said bandits, kidnappers and terrorists operate under hard drug influence which usually gives them fake confidence and strength.

The Niger State Commander of the Agency, Mr Haruna Kwatiche disclosed at an event to mark this year’s United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and illicit Traffickingin Minna on Saturday.

Kwatiche said these category of people often claimed they did not know how and why they embarked on such acts after being arrested and when the effect of the drugs they consumed had won out.

He said the country should rise up to stop the circulation of hard drugs by bringing all peddlers under the law if the activities of bandits, kidnapers and terrorists are to be reduced to the barest minimum in the country.

“The NDLEA is committed to confronting circulation and consumption of hard drugs frontally,” the commander said, adding that to achieve this, the Agency requires the support of all the major stakeholders in the states of the federation.

 

He disclosed that between January and June 2021, the command apprehended 68 suspects for allegedly consuming and peddling hard drugs, adding that majority of the suspects have been charged to court for trial.

He also said that the Agency has begun counselling no fewer than 256 persons either for consuming or peddling hard drugs.

During the period, Kwatiche disclosed that 585kg of substances suspected to be Indian hemp, 113,000 psychotropic substances, as well as 2,700 bottles of cough syrup with codeine were seized by operatives of the command, adding that the highest seizure was that of the cough syrup made in Suleja town.

He said that to discourage consumption of hard drugs among the youths, the command has completed arrangements to launch ‘Drug Free Clubs’ in all primary and secondary schools across the state.

The commander said lack of funds is hindering the effective performance of the command and therefore solicited for financial assistance from the state government.

The Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, promised to collaborate with the NDLEA in its fight against consumption of hard drugs especially by the youths.

Meanwhile, a Clinical Psychologist with the Federal Medical Center (FMC) Makurdi, Dr. Perpetual Chia has stressed the need to continuously create awareness on the negative consequences of drug abuse.

She noted that such awareness creation could help warn young people about the dangers inherent in the use of illicit drugs.

Chia stated this at a one day public lecture organised by Connecting Lens Initiative to mark the International Day Against Illicit Drugs and Trafficking held at the NUJ House, Makurdi, the Benue State capital on Friday.

While lamenting that substance use or drug abuse has become a serious problem not only in Nigeria but globally, Chia said it has therefore become a global health concern as it affects the user mentally, psychologically, socially, economically, religiously and in every other aspect of life.

“However they have their consequences and problems as they are gateway drugs which open the way for one to use higher drugs which could make one to be more predisposed to other ailments and affect the way one thinks and behaves.”

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