NIGERIAN pharmacists have decried the growing scourge of drug and substance misuse in the country even as Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari and Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu call for concerted efforts towards curbing the menace.
This is coming on the heels of a survey released February this year, that 14.4 percent of Nigerians agedf 15 – 64 used one drug or another in 2016 and 25 percent of the numbers are women.
Making the call during a symposium tagged: “Sustainable Approach to Eradication of Drug and Substance Abuse in Nigeria” organised by the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPHARM), Mrs Buhari urged Nigerian pharmacists to assist the Federal government in the fight against drug and substance abuse in the country. Represented by Mrs Moji Tejuosho, Buhari remarked that following the result of the report which showed that some 14.4 million people who make up the live-wire of our workforce as a nation; fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, are affected, “We really need to look around and see the devastation caused by drugs.
Hundreds of thousands of our children are battling with drug addiction, which makes them burdens to themselves and to the society”. Speaking, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo -Olu, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Lagos State, Dr Titi Gonzalez, said the Lagos State Kick Against Drug Abuse (LASKADA) was launched to declare war against drug abuse. “For the effort to yield meaningful result everybody should be involved, clerics, royal fathers, parents and even youths themselves should be ready to collaborate and work with government to rid our society of the menace,” he said.
The Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Prof Christianah Adeyeye regretted that many of Nigerian youths are involved in drug abuse. “It is high time for us as pharmacists to look inward and see what we can do to make a change. As custodians of drugs we have to take control. Stating that opioid abuse has become the latest scourge, she said the Agency is working hard to prevent such a scourge in Nigeria.
“ As professionals we should be careful and serious on how we handle and distribute drugs whether they are narcotics or non-narcotics.” On his part, President, NAPHARM, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi called for the destigmatisation of drug abuse. He said with 14 per cent prevalence, in 100 million Nigerians, 14 million are drug users.
“We need a law that will make sure that we can trace, track and control these products from manufacturers all the way to consumption. We have been told that there are 11,926 drug items and about 200 of them are illicit drugs, It is difficult controlling them and we will need help. At this time, Nigeria needs rebranding, repositioning, amongst others,’ he stated.