Collective Societal Efforts Critical To Drug Abuse Prevention – Nigerian Health Minister

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Nigerian Health Ministry
Mediaage NG News – ABUJA, Nigeria (Wednesday 26th June, 2024)

The Nigerian government has called for collective efforts from parents, stakeholders and the entire society to prioritise the overall well-being of the society, by preventing the threats of drug abuse.

Emphasising on the deadly effects of psychoactive substances caused by drug abuse, it also said the country is set to implement policies to combat the illicit use of drugs.

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“The regulation of psychoactive substance use is a challenging endeavour, one that requires collective success, Nigerian Coordinating Health Minister, Prof Muhammad Ali Pate, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Daju Kachollom mni, said on Tuesday, during a Ministerial Press briefing, commemorating the 2024 International Day Against Drugs Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on Tuesday, in Abuja.

The theme for this year’s titled “The Evidence Is Clear: Invest In Prevention”.

Prof. Pate emphasized the importance of the ministry to address the severe impacts of drug abuse and illicit trafficking by individuals, families and communities globally.

He conveyed the ministry’s commitment to societal collaborate to fight the abuse of drugs.

“The global drug problem presents multifaceted challenges, from individuals grappling with substance use disorders, to communities facing the repercussions of drug trafficking and organized crime”, the Minister said.

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The Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa, Director General of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), represented by the Deputy Commander of Narcotics, Assistant Director, Research and Statistics, Drug Demand Reduction Directorate, NDLEA, Chigbu Odoemelam Chilee, described drug trafficking and abuse in Nigeria as ‘a complex issue’ influenced by deep-rooted social and economic factors that include poverty, unemployment, and limited education opportunities.

He said porous borders and proximity to major drug trafficking routes make it a vulnerable transit point for illicit substances.

“Investments in education, job creation, and community development initiatives empower individuals and communities to resist the allure of drugs”, he said.

Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, Country Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), commended the Nigerian government for its participation in global efforts to strengthen the country’s health sector’s response to address the threats of drug abuse. “Strategies like harm reduction services, national policy development and coordination platforms at various levels are crucial in combating drug abuse and should be employed”, she said.

She said approximately 270 million people (or about 5.5% of the global population aged 15-64) used psychoactive drugs in the previous year, with an estimated 35 million individuals affected by drug use disorders or drug dependence.

Pharm (Mrs) Olubunmi Aribeana, Director of the Food and Drug Services Department at the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, called on the National Council of the United Nations to mandate the involvement of all stakeholders, including policymakers, communities, and stakeholders, in adopting an evidence-based approach to prevent drug abuse, raise awareness about its adverse effects, and support global efforts to combat illicit drug trafficking.

Other stakeholders at the ministerial briefing include PCN, UNODC, IHVN, SFH, ISSUP, AHAPN, and YOUTHRISE.

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