Affairs TV News

News Beyond Headlines


FG to conduct national drug use survey

The Federal Government plans to conduct a drug use survey as part of its efforts to combat drug abuse and develop preventive measures, The PUNCH reports.

It said the survey to be conducted soon would help the government break the vicious cycle of drug abuse, safeguard teeming youth from falling prey to the illicit act and ensure proper resource allocation to address the issue effectively.

President Bola Tinubu said this at an event held on Tuesday in Abuja to commemorate the 2024 United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking themed, “The Evidence is Clear: Invest in Prevention”.

On December 7th, 1987, the United Nations General Assembly set aside June 26 of every year as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking to raise awareness about the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society.

Drug abuse refers to the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs. It leads to addiction, a chronic, relapsing disorder characterised by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain.

The annual event with support from the MTN Foundation encourages governments, organizations, and individuals to come together to combat drug abuse and illegal drug trade through education, prevention, and treatment programmes.

The Country Representative, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Oliver Stolpe, highlighting the impact of drug abuse said that 292 million or 5.6 per cent of the world population aged between 15 and 64 engaged in drug abuse in the past year.

Speaking during his keynote address, Tinubu represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, said that the increasing spate of drug abuse is a stark reminder of an urgent assignment to save humanity.

He stated that the social, economic and health consequences of drug abuse do not only destroy lives but also put a strain on the healthcare system adding more burden on the government to provide proper rehabilitation.

He said, “Our gathering here on this significant occasion to commemorate the International Day Against Drug Abuse and the National Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, a day dedicated to raising awareness about the global challenge of drug abuse and trafficking is a stark reminder of an urgent assignment for humanity. It communicates the need to allocate more resources in the collective and coordinated quest to stamp out the consequences of the abuse of illicit drugs.

“The social, economic and health consequences of drug abuse are not only devastating to lives but also put a strain on the healthcare system. Drug abuse imposes a burden on government and people and the ramifications of these consequences reverberated across generations.”

The president stated that preventive measures remain the most potent weapon to save lives and promote healthy lifestyles adding that the intervention is not merely a moral imperative, but a solution to safeguarding our future.

“In the face of this formidable challenge, prevention is the most potent weapon that we can deploy. Prevention not only saves lives, it also saves resources that would otherwise have been spent on treatment and rehabilitation. It empowers individuals to make informed choices, promotes healthy lifestyles, and creates resilient communities, capable of withstanding the pressures of drug abuse.

“Preventive intervention is not merely a moral imperative, but a solution to safeguarding our future by allocating resources towards various prevention programs, we can break the vicious cycle of drug abuse and protect our youth from falling prey to the menace.

“Prevention efforts must be comprehensive and must target all the elements of society, namely, schools, markets, motor parks, workplaces and communities. It must involve all stakeholders because the drug problem requires the whole of society approach and no single entity can tackle it alone.

“On this note, I enjoy all and sundry support for the war against drug abuse initiative, otherwise known as the WADA campaign, done by NDLEA three years ago. This government will support the NDLEA to build on its success recorded in the past three years. We shall work with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that we have positive statistics from the next national drug use survey to be conducted in the country. Together we can build a country where every individual has the opportunity to live a drug-free life where communities thrive and where hope replaces destruction.”

In his address, the Director General of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Mohamed Buba Marwa, said operatives of the agency have 52,901 drug traffickers, including 48 barons, and obtained over 9,000 convictions of suspects in the last three years.

Marwa said the agency’s offensive action had resulted in the seizure of over 7.6 million kilograms of assorted illicit substances, including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and cannabis.

The NDLEA boss said efforts to achieve a drug-free Nigeria are being led with preventive steps, one of which has been blocking distribution channels.

He said, “The imperative to invest in prevention is dictated by evidence-based results that have shown that prevention is far more cost-effective than dealing with the consequences of drug use disorder. Because, after all, prevention is better than cure.

“At NDLEA, drug use prevention lies at the heart of our strategy in addressing the drug problem as it is: far more effective and cost-efficient to prevent drug abuse than to deal with its consequences. As part of the reforms being undertaken in the Agency in the last three years, with the support of the Federal Government and various stakeholders, we have invested in prevention programmes”

He added, “The magnitude of our effort is reflected in the statistics of our drug supply reduction activities. We have arrested 52, 901 drug traffickers, including 48 barons, in three and half years. Over 9, 000 of the suspects have been convicted in court. We have also seized over the same periods 7.6 million kilograms of assorted illicit substances.”

On his part, the Chairman, MTN Foundation, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, urged the government at all levels, “to develop and update policies, share the right information with the general populace, and partner with each other to [provide and execute a clear plan to contain and prevent the scourge in every sector.”


About The Author


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *