FG restates commitment to curb abuse of psychoactive substances

The Federal Government on Thursday reiterated her commitment in ensuring that no effort would be spared in curbing the menace of psychoactive substances in the country.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige restated this in Abuja at the 13th biennial international conference on ‘Drugs, Alcohol and Society in Africa.’

The conference was under the theme: ‘Substance use and sustainable development in Africa, strengthening the evidence base for policy and action.’

Ngige, who was represented by Mrs Ifeoma Anyanwutaku, Director, Occupational Safety and Health explained that tackling unemployment in Nigeria would help reduce the menace of drug abuse and addiction.

He added that the government is making serious efforts toward tackling unemployment in the country.

Prof. Isidore Obot, Director, Centre for Research and Information on Substance Abuse (CRISA), the use and abuse of psychoactive substances is largely on the increase in the country.

Obot explained that in addressing the policies on drug abuse, the role of drug law enforcement cannot be overlooked, while the need to consider the problem of drug abuses as a big issue must be considered.

He said that alcohol remains a big and major problem in the country, as 50 per cent of the populace are addicted to alcohol consumption. a situation he described as very dangerous to health.

”We have neglected the other side of drug problems. It is not all about the variability or trafficking as it used to be, but now the drugs that have been trafficked are being abused in the country.

”Drug use is a health problem and response to this problem should be driven by health and social welfare concerns, with total recognition of human rights of drug users.

“Treatment for drug use disorder should be available as at when needed, and the best available evidence of effectiveness should guide the formulation and implementation of interventions.

“We will not succeed in addressing the growing problem of drug use in our communities if we continue to rely on untested strategies that just seem to make sense or feel good.

“And it will be more difficult to succeed, if we continue to neglect hard choices that hold promise for reducing drug use and the harm associated with it,’’ he said.

Obot stressed that, regular research and national survey on illicit substance are part of the major ways to solving and checkmating drug use in the country.

The Director, Drug Demand Reduction, ECOWAS, Dr Sintiki Ugbe corroborated that there is high magnitude of trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychoactive substances.

Ugbe added that cocaine trafficking remains a significant concern with evolving modes of transportation through air and seaports, while cannabis is widely cultivated and consumed in the region.

Nigeria has adopted and endorsed the ECOWAS political declaration and regional action plan to combat illicit drug trafficking, organised crime and drug abuse.

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SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (local news)

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