The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has begun a National Education and Awareness Campaign aimed at reducing the incidences of drug abuse in the country.
The agency flagged off the campaign tagged “Drugs are Dangerous: Know the Facts”, in Sokoto state on Wednesday.
The acting Director-General of the agency, Mrs Yetunde Oni who flagged of the campaign lamented that drug abuse has become a common and very serious public health issue, especially among the youth.
She said the campaign was important to help re-direct the attention of the youth from drug abuse back to productive ventures.
Gov. Aminu Tambuwal who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Bashir Garba at the event, said that the state government had set up a high-powered, inter-agency taskforce to curb the menace of illicit drugs and other unwholesome substances.
“Drug abuse has now regrettably extended even to matrimonial homes, with some couples being drug abusers.The state government will support the agency and its sister agencies, to curb the menace. Gov. Tambuwal is equally concerned with the menace and is determined to do everything humanly possible to counter it,” he said.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, represented by the District Head of Hamma’ali, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar, commended the agency for organising the event.
Abubakar pledged the support of the Sultanate Council to ensure that the menace was eradicated or drastically reduced.
Meanwhile, NAFDAC say it has secured no fewer than eight convictions of drug offenders from February, this year, to-date.
Mrs Yetunde Oni, disclosed this in Sokoto also stated that 52 other drugs suspects were being prosecuted in various law courts across the country.
She said that the Federal Ministry of Justice was taking the right steps to ensure the speedy prosecution of the suspects.
Oni appealed for more funds to make the agency more effective and efficient, saying that its staff were vibrant, robust and productive.
According to her, the agency needs “funds to provide more vehicles, equipment for our laboratories and other needed logistics”, adding that “the Nigerian drugs manufacturing processes should be improved and encouraged to produce quality products, to reduce importation which will make the country a producing nation, rather than being a heavily consuming nation.”
Oni further urged Nigerians to key into the change agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari, hence we need to always learn do the right things.
World Drug report 2016
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) ibn its 2016 World Drug report said more people are now affected by the consequence of drug abuse than in previous years.
The report says “drug use disorders has increased disproportionally for the first time in six years…there are now over 29 million people within this category (compared to the previous figure of 27 million).”
It howver said the number of people on drugs have remained unchanged in the last four years.
“Around five per cent of the adult population, or nearly 250 million people between the ages of 15 and 64, used at least one drug in 2014, according to the latest World Drug Report released today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Although substantial, this figure has not grown over the past four years in proportion to the global population”, it said.
NAN/UNODC Rafat S.