NDLEA Chairman Expresses Concern Over Rising Drug Abuse Among Nigerian Youth
Annual Public Lecture Sheds Light on Nigeria's Drug Abuse Crisis: NDLEA Chairman Urges Action
Chairman and CEO of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brigadier Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa, expressed concern on Tuesday about the escalating rate of psychoactive substance abuse among Nigerians aged 15-64 years. According to Marwa, over 14.3 million individuals in this age group, excluding alcohol and tobacco users, are engaged in drug consumption, posing a significant threat to the future of the country’s youth.
During the Annual Public Lecture organized by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) in Abuja, themed “Culture, Drug Abuse, and the Future of the Nigerian Youth,” Marwa revealed alarming statistics. He highlighted that one out of every four drug users is a woman, while one in five individuals who use drugs in Nigeria suffers from drug use disorders. Furthermore, he emphasized that drug abuse is most prevalent among individuals aged 25 to 39 years.
Marwa underscored the detrimental consequences of drug abuse on Nigerian society, linking it to the rise in prostitution, kidnapping, armed robbery, terrorism, and banditry. He noted that drug users under the influence are prone to engaging in various criminal activities, including contracting HIV/AIDS and experiencing mental health disorders.
The NDLEA chairman applauded the Annual Public Lecture organized by NICO, acknowledging its significance in raising awareness about the dangers associated with drug abuse. He emphasized the event’s potential to sensitize society as a whole to their roles in preventing, treating, and caring for individuals affected by drug abuse.
Referring to the National Drug Use Survey conducted by the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2018, Marwa cited the prevalence of high-risk drug users who inject drugs. He disclosed that one in five high-risk drug users in Nigeria falls into this category.
Marwa defined drug abuse as the consumption of drugs in a manner that deviates from approved medical or social norms, resulting in negative physical, psychological, and social consequences. He emphasized that drug use in Nigeria affects individuals of all ages, genders, religions, socio-economic statuses, and regions.
Expressing his appreciation for the NICO’s efforts, Marwa commended the organization for its commitment and passion in combatting the menace of drug abuse. He stressed the urgent need for collective action to address the issue effectively.
The Executive Secretary of NICO, Ado Muhammed Yahuza, expressed his concern about the prevalence of drug and substance abuse, particularly among Nigerian youths. He called for concerted efforts to protect the nation’s youth from the avoidable negative consequences of drug abuse. Yahuza commended the NDLEA for its proactive and effective execution of its mandate, citing the agency’s numerous arrests and convictions as evidence of its success in the war against drug abuse.
Representing the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Zainab Ali-Biu, Director of International Cultural Relations, highlighted the alarming nature of drug abuse among youths. She emphasized the need for urgent action by the government, relevant agencies such as the NDLEA, National Orientation Agency (NOA), NICO, as well as various societal stakeholders, including families, religious bodies, socio-cultural organizations, civil society organizations, and the mass media. Ali-Biu stressed the importance of collaborative efforts to mitigate the devastating consequences of drug abuse on the nation.
Chairing the occasion, Senator Rochas Okorocha, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, cautioned young people against drug abuse and addiction, emphasizing the potential ruin it could bring to their lives and futures. He also urged youths to utilize cell phones and other forms of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) responsibly, while cautioning against the negative impact of the social media sphere on the younger generation.
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