The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) says that it arrested 66 persons for drug-related offences in Oyo State between January and June 2020.
The agency’s state Commander, Josephine Obi, made this disclosure in Ibadan on Friday during the commemoration of the 2020 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme for the year is tagged: “Better Knowledge for Better Care”.
Obi said that out of the 66 drug trafficking suspects, 27 had been convicted and sentenced to different jail terms.
According to her, the agency also seized 1,184.99 kg of various narcotic drugs and psychotropics substances during the period under review.
She further said that the agency gave brief intervention to 35 persons who were using illicit drugs while seven others were undergoing rehabilitation.
Obi who reiterated the command’s commitment to agency’s mandate said that combating drug abuse and trafficking was becoming overwhelming due to technological advancement.
“Drug abuse and trafficking is a cankerworm that continues to bedevil nations all over the world in spite of decades of international collaboration to defeat the menace.
“The situation is getting more daunting with the constant introduction of new psychotropic substances of abuse, technological advancements and the recalcitrance of the drug barons due to the lucrativeness of the illicit trade.
“Oyo State also faces serious challenges of drug abuse, trafficking and cultivation.
“The World Drug-free Day which we commemorate today, gives us the launch pad for aggressive campaigns and provides the opportunity to enlist all members of society to deliberately support the fight against drug abuse in every possible way,” she said.
The commander urged Nigerians to take a public stand against drug abuse and illicit trafficking to drastically reduce its menace.
“The theme for this year’s commemoration is ‘Better Knowledge for Better Care’.
“This is very crucial at this time as an understanding of the drug issues by more people will lead to greater collaboration and success in countering the twin challenges of drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
“Get knowledge. Take better care of your loved ones and our communities,” she said.
In his remark, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Bashir Bello, said that drug abuse, misuse and illicit trafficking was a “Hydra headed social menace that needs the collaborative efforts of all concerned”.
Bello said that only through collaborative efforts including government, parents and private organisations could the fight against the drug abuse be won.
“It has been reported that drug abuse and misuse are responsible for over 80 per cent of crime and criminal activities.
“Over 40 per cent of Nigerian youths engage in substance abuse and misuse.
“It is very important to note that a healthy nation is a wealthy nation because it is a common belief that only the healthy can attend to the need of others.
“But a nation where 40 per cent of its youths are on drug abuse can be very disturbing.
“The implications of this cannot be overemphasised,” he said.
The Chairman of Oyo State Drug Abuse Control Committee, Mr Akinwande Babatunde, said that nearly all classes of drugs had been abused and misused.
“However, the most commonly-abused ones include painkillers, antibiotics, antihistamine, antimalarials, multivitamins, hard drugs and banned drugs.
“Other practices that could constitute drug abuse include cigarette smoking, excessive consumption of kolanuts, use of herbal concoctions and habitual consumption of alcohol and spirits,” he said.
According to him, the committee has scaled up sensitisation campaigns in schools and motor parks across the state to have a drug-free state.