Wife of Kwara Governor, Mrs Olufolake AbdulRazaq has said that a total of 376,000 Nigerians between the ages of 15-64 are high-risk drug users.
The Governor’s wife said this on Wednesday in Ilorin in an address delivered at the 2019 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
“In Nigeria, the rate of drug abuse is alarming at an estimated 376,000 (0.4 per cent of the population aged 15-64 are high-risk drug users.
“It is no gain saying that the use of illicit drugs has fueled criminality and posed many a social and security challenges, hence this occasion can’t come at a better time.
“The recent trend in the use of hallucinogens, opiates and sedative hypnotics by the youths and young adults spurred my resolve to lend my voice to the advocacy drive by the NDLEA and other stakeholders so as to ensure that the youths are dissuaded from treading this perditious path,” she said.
She commend NDLEA and the State’s committee on drug abuse for their efforts to rid the society of the menace of drugs.
“I would like to use this medium to enjoin them to create anti-drugs club in our schools so as to acquaint students with the ills associated with the use of illicit drugs hence nipping it in the bud,” she added.
Mrs AbdulRazaq expressed happiness that the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) has designated Kwara as a pilot state to play a leading role in drug control in the North Central states including the FCT.
She added that this year’s theme: “Health for Justice, Justice for health” suggested that effective responses to drug related problems require inclusive and accountable institutions to work together to provide integrated solutions to forestall unfettered access to Illicit drugs.
“It is in this regard that consistency in addressing drug abuse and illicit trafficking is paramount and as such a holistic focus across many fronts is required.
“At the same time, we need to expand evidence-based approaches to prevention, treatment and support,” Mrs AbdulRazaq said.
She also called on parents and elder to help sensitize their kids and relatives on the potential risks of abusing drugs and alcohol.
“Parent should encourage open communication which could prevent their children from engaging in the act thereby optimizing their safety, health and well-being and enabling them realize their potential.
“The Nigerian youth needs to be further oriented on the dangers involved with engaging in trafficking and abuse of drugs and not to see it as a means of livelihood.
“This orientation should not be only done by the Government or Educational Institutions, but Parents and Guardians should also step up and play their role in this,” she said.
Mrs AbdulRazaq urged relevant Government agencies to ensure that peddlers and growers of this destructive substances be made to bear the maximum consequences while victims should be rehabilitated and reintegrated back in to the society.
The Governor’s wife added that the State Government would organize prevention programs at the community level with civic, religious, law enforcement, and other government organizations to enhance antidrug norms by identifying the specific drugs and other child and adolescent problems in the community,
She described substance abuse as an epidemic and ticking time bomb that needs urgent attention and systematic approach in the society.
“We all must work together to dismantle drug production and defeat drug addiction. Reduce drug demand, cut off supply of illicit drugs, expand treatment and strengthened international cooperation.
“I am optimistic that our State will be better off if more resources are devoted to supporting evidence based drug prevention strategies, which would in turn be a sound and effective investment in families, schools and communities,” she added.
Mrs AbdulRazaq added that breaking addiction to drug is the only way to get off the hook, adding that it may not be easy to quit, but the efforts will be rewarded by better health of the individual.
“It is in this light, that I call on all public spirited individuals, corporate organizations, Government and non-governmental organizations to join in raising awareness against the use and trafficking of Illicit drugs.
“Together, we can ensure that all people can live in health, dignity and peace, with security and prosperity by getting our society rid of this scourge,” Mrs AbdulRazaq added.