By Oboh Linus
Lafia, June 26, 2022 NDLEA arrested 774 suspects and seized 3,874.3kgs of various narcotics and psychotropic substances in Nasarawa, Benue and Plateau in the first half of 2022.
The three states make the Zone D of the narcotics agency.
Umoru Ambrose, Zonal Commander in the zone said this in Lafia on Sunday while marking the 2022 UN International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
He said 134 drug suspects were prosecuted during the period, while 378 drug users were counselled and rehabilitated.
He added that states in the zone had intensified their operations in the War against Drug Abuse and sensitisation.
Ambrose called on all stakeholders to get involved in curbing drugs menace in the zone.
In his remarks, Peter Odaudu, NDLEA Commander in Nasarawa State, said the celebrations underscored the need for access to proper treatment for people with drug disorders.
He stressed that the war against drugs must be intensified in Nasarawa State especially given its position as the second highest drug prevalence state in the North Central after Kwara.
“Statistics from the 2018 drug survey showed a very alarming trend, the involvement of females in drug issues.
“We have at least one female out of every four drug users; this development is worrisome and must be reversed,’’ he said.
Odaudu thanked Nasarawa State’s Gov. Abdullahi Sule for his support for the NDLEA and solicited urgent intervention in the provision of operational vehicles and the construction of a rehabilitation centre.
Guest speaker, Mr Nwora Okpalaeke, who is coordinator of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria in Nasarawa State, said 494,000 users died of drug abuse in 2019.
He spoke on “Illicit Drugs in Health and Humanitarian Crises.’’
He said drug abusers suffered liver cirrhosis, stroke, hepatitis, kidney and heart failure, noting that 14.3 million Nigerians are drug addicts, while three million are suffering from drug-related disorders.
“Government should strengthen the system to prevent proliferation of drugs and pay attention to agencies charged with reversing the situation.
“Drug abuse affects economic growth; the higher the abuse the higher the level of insecurity and poverty,’’ he said.
Margaret Elayo, Senior Special Assistant on Primary Healthcare to Gov. Sule commended the NDLEA in the state and assured of partnership to curb drug abuse in Nasarawa State.
The for this year celebration of the Day is: “Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crises.’’