Marwa instructs stakeholders to fight drug addiction among

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By Emma Njoku

Parents and other stakeholders have been tasked with tackling the challenge of keeping young Nigerians away from illicit substances.

President/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retired), who made the call yesterday in Lagos, warned that complacency could jeopardize the bright future of the young population.

Marwa, who spoke at Realnews Magazine’s 10th anniversary conference yesterday, said: “Let me leave us with a thought-provoking reflection on the danger of complacency in the fight against substance abuse among youth. By 2030, demographic factors predict that the number of people using drugs will increase by 11% globally, and up to 40% in Africa alone. This is an early warning that we all need to take seriously and be sure to keep our young people away from dangerous substances that could jeopardize the bright future that awaits them.

He said that instead of reaping the benefits of the huge youth population in Nigeria, the reverse could be the case if relevant stakeholders do not step up and join the ongoing efforts against the scourge of poverty. Drugs.

“It is globally recognized that one of Africa’s comparative advantages is its huge youth population. This country, Nigeria, for example, has no less than 151 million young people, or 70% of our estimated population of 217 million. Most of us don’t know what that means. Youth is synonymous with creativity, strength, ingenuity and productivity. But how do you reap these benefits when a significant portion of this population is involved in illicit substance abuse? The truth is that instead of being a boon, they could become a burden because of illicit substance abuse,” he said.

He said that in response to the whole-of-society approaches needed to ensure that people, especially young people, have the information and develop the resilience to make good choices, particularly around drug abuse, NDLEA initiated some young people targeted measures to protect them against the pressures and temptations to use drugs.

These measures, he said, include: “The War on Drug Abuse (AMA) campaign, grassroots-based advocacy, which we use to spread anti-drug sentiment to different layers of our society ; NDLEA Twitter Space where drug issues are discussed by experts from around the country and around the world in front of young audiences; a 24/7 drug addiction call center with a free helpline: 0800 1020 3040, which allows drug addicts, their families and employers to seek treatment without compromising their identity or safety , as well as open-door treatment at 26 NDLEA treatment facilities across the country.”

Marwa said this became necessary after the release of the 2018 National Drug Use and Health Survey.

He said, “Nigeria has sought solutions to the drug scourge, especially with regard to the youth. The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari provides unwavering support to the NDLEA. The Agency, in turn, has worked on several measures that are largely youth-focused.

Speaking earlier at a debriefing workshop on the Controlled Delivery of Drug Trafficking Exercise for law enforcement agencies in Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and crime, UNODC and the ECOWAS Commission, General Marwa noted that capacity building training still has increased effectiveness in combating the scourge of drug trafficking which in recent years has become the one of the most devastating threats to humanity.

“Today’s workshop allowed us all to get on the same page about the intricacies of this methodology, which requires greater cooperation from law enforcement agencies at the national and international. More than other techniques, controlled delivery makes us aware of why law enforcement should not work in a vacuum and why bilateral and multilateral agreements, regular and quality contact and the exchange of Information between drug enforcement organizations is important.

He commended the European Union, UNODC and the ECOWAS Commission for supporting the training workshop.

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