The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on drug control has commenced preparation towards the commemoration of 2016 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking which holds on June 26. NDLEA Director General, Mrs Roli Bode George who presided over the meeting stated that the theme for the commemoration is on evidence based drug abuse prevention with the slogan Listen First.
In her welcome remarks, Roli identified synergy among stakeholders as the major achievement of the current Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP). “The Agency has recorded great success in the implementation of the Drug Control Master Plan. Most significant is the high level of synergy among stakeholders. Drug trafficking is a thriving business and a serious issue in Nigeria that requires strong, concerted control efforts. To effectively address the challenge of drug abuse in Nigeria, sensitisation, advocacy and prevention programmes remain vital” she stated.
The Director General stated that community based surveys have revealed that cannabis is the most produced, trafficked and abused drug in the country. Heroin and cocaine use have also been reported mainly in Lagos and other cosmopolitan State capitals while use of amphetamine type stimulants (ATS) is predominant in the northern part.
An emerging problem with the abuse of Zakami (Datura Metel) an indigenous plant and solvents were also found among marginalised youths and street children in some northern States. Persons Who Inject Drugs (PWIDs) however constitute one of the most at risk groups for HIV infections in Nigeria. NDLEA between 2010 and 2014 covered an average of 1,000 schools annually in drug use prevention enlightenment.
A director in the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mr. Isaac Idu said that the office of the NSA will support the fight against drug control. Corps Commander Oladunni Olaniyan and Corps Medical Rescue Officer with the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) said that the Commission is actively involved in drug control programmes. “FRSC is partnering with NDLEA because when people take drugs and drive, they constitute a serious threat to lives and property” Oladunni stated.
Deputy director in the Ministry of Health, Mrs. Onunkwo Celine said that her ministry commends the efforts of the NDLEA in reducing drug trafficking in Nigeria.
The meeting is expected to amplify the anti-drug campaign, deepen collaboration and boost overall effectiveness of the exercise which holds every June 26.