By Ijendu Iheaka
Aba – The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has called on the Abia Government to urgently support the efforts of the State Drug Control Committee to stem the spread of drug abuse.
The State Commandant of NDLEA, Mr Bamidele Akingbade, made the call on Wednesday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Aba.
He underscored the need to organise drug awareness campaigns in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions across the state so as to curb the spread of the use of hard drugs in the institutions.
“Due to the high rate of abuse of psychotropic substances in primary and secondary schools across Abia, there is need for the state government to support the activities of the State Drug Control Committee.
“The committee is responsible for carrying out public awareness campaigns in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions across the state.
“The committee is also to advise the state government on actions that should be taken on critical issues in efforts to curtail drug abuse in the state,” he added.
Akingbade, however, bemoaned the fact that the committee, which was re-constituted in June, had not sat for once and, therefore, called on the state government to act quickly to make the committee functional for the benefit of the citizens.
The state NDLEA commandant noted that Abia had recorded a high preponderance and use of at least three types of prohibited drugs across all its 17 local government areas.
He said that 12 out of 17 local government areas of the state recorded the use of cocaine and heroin, while the remaining seven council areas recorded the use of cannabis, skunk cannabis, tramadol, benylin with codeine and rohypnol.
He said that the proliferation and increased use of hard drugs in Abia had caused some security, health and social challenges for the residents, which required quick interventions for prompt resolution.
Akingbade said that the trend meant that people would be increasingly getting addicted to drug use, while requiring rehabilitation, adding that any effort to prevent drug addiction was certainly better any effort to cure it.
He said that the consumption rate of prohibited drugs by people in the state was quite alarming.
He said that the development had resulted in increased drug-dependence, while reinforcing the need to put in place certain facilities for the addicts’ rehabilitation.