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10th NASS will take war against drugs abuse to another level – Rep-elect, Agbese

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10th NASS will take war against drugs abuse to another level – Rep-elect, Agbese

The member-elect for Ado/ Okpokwu/ Ogbadibo federal constituency, Philip Agbese has pledged that the 10th National Assembly will take the fight against drug abuse to the next level.

Agbese spoke in reaction to the move by the outgoing 9th House of Representatives to declare a state of emergency on drug abuse.

While admitting that the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has made significant progress, the lawmaker-elect said there is still a lot to be done.

Agbese said the focus shouldn’t solely be on drugs but on substance abuse which poses a global health and social problem.

Highlighting a report by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime in Nigeria, the member-elect said that 14.4% (14.3 million) of people aged between 15 and 64 years abuse drugs in the country.

He said what this could imply is that one in every five Nigerians abuse substances either illicit drugs or alcohol.

Agbese further noted that over 11 percent of the young population in Nigeria take hard drugs like Syrup, tramadol, Diazepam, cocaine, and Shisha mix among others.

“A report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) said around 275 million people used drugs worldwide in the last year while over 36 million people suffer drug use disorders,” he lamented.

“We have a big problem on our hands. Substance abuse has become a norm. In this era of social media and the internet, young people have lost morals and family values. As a young Nigerian, I am pained by this trend.

“We have to put stricter laws and policies in place to address this menace. I have taken my time to study other nations and how they have successfully tackled drug abuse in the past. I will put this out to my colleagues in the 10th Assembly.

“For instance, enhanced collaboration among strategic agencies (Nigeria Custom Services, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, and NAFDAC) responsible for the importation and regulation of controlled medicines and/or preventing the importation, distribution, and use of illicit drugs will go a long way.

“The Federal Ministry of Health should develop National Prescription Policy Enforcement of the prescription policy by the Federal Ministry of Health Advocacy, and public awareness campaigns through the print, social and electronic media should be carried out.

“The Ministry of Information and agencies directly responsible for the end users and consumers such as the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), NAFDAC, Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), etc must play more active roles.

“There should be greater collaboration through the use of task forces among regulatory bodies responsible for drugs and controlled substances. Also, extra-territorial enforcement to identify, disrupt and dismantle organized criminal groups operating across borders.

“Review of the drug laws to enable the judiciary to apply penalties that are commensurate to the offences. Provision of more rehabilitation centres and workers to assist those that are addicted to the controlled drug. Also the provision of educational and employment opportunities to the youth”.

Agbese, however, harped that urgent attention should be given to the training of NDLEA officers.

He noted that these officers should be well equipped with modern facilities, adding that there is an urgent need to adopt technology in the war.

He assured that budgetary allocation will be made by the parliament to assist relevant agencies in this area to effectively combat the challenges.

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