By Doris Obinna
Each year, individuals, communities, and various organizations all over the world, from civil society to the private sector, join in to observe World Drug Day to help raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs pose to society.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)’s, this year’s theme, “Addressing drug challenges in health and humanitarian crises,” focuses on ensuring access to controlled medicines, guaranteeing evidence-based care, treatment and services, and preventing negative coping behaviours through support were among the calls to action highlighted.
Observing the World Drug Day, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), in collaboration with Healthgarde International, addressed the challenges and problems caused by illicit drugs in the country at the NDLEA celebrity drug free club conference, held in Lagos.
The celebrity conference tagged, ‘Best approaches to drug control: The role of the entertainment industry practitioners,’ stakeholders and celebrities took turns to addressed drug challenges in health and humanitarian crises.
The chairman, NDLEA, Brigadier Gen. Buba Marwa, said the agency would collaborate with various sub-sectors of the industry to deepen public awareness.
Representing the General, the Zonal Commander, NDLEA, Lagos, Segun Oke, stated that the fight against drug abuse is not for the NDLEA alone and called on that the entertainment industry join in the fight.
He said: “We appeal to all stakeholders, especially the entertainment industry not to send the wrong signal that has drug abuse content. In your casting, scripts, and presentation on the screen, watch properly the contents while processing entertainment for the public. There is the tendency for the young mind to believe that what they see in entertainment is real.”
On his part, Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Abiodun Alabi, represented by CSP Gbenga Stephen, while, applauding the agency expressed the desire to work with them in other to curb the trending menace of drug in the country.
He, however, disclosed that a lot of crimes committed were attributable to the increase in drug abuse.
The Chief Executive Officer, HealthGarde International, Mrs Lovelyn Nwarueze, while speaking on the importance of natural medicine usage, urged Nigerians to prioritise their well-being by going for drugs made with 100 per cent natural products.
Her word: “At Healthgarde, we offer over 25 products for wellness, weight loss, energy, a variety of teas, preventives and unique cosmetics, etc. We are the only global wellness enterprise and multilevel marketing company founded by an African woman, a Nigerian to be precise. All our high-grade products are made in Africa are not China or America and our networks are spreading fast beyond Africa to the rest of the world.”
Also, NDLEA Advisor, Celebrity Drug Free Club Coordinator, Wilson Ighodalo, disclosed the urgent need for massive investment in healthcare service delivery through community intervention to address drug abuse and encourage youth participation advocacy. According to him, Nigeria remains a key hub of drug trafficking and cannabis remains the most abused drug in the country.
In his contribution, comedian, Gbenga Adeyinka urged the NDLEA to arrest, prosecute and jail celebrities who encourage the use of hard drugs in public or on social media. He pleads that his colleagues stop promoting drug abuse through their content in songs, videos and shows.
NDLEA, Lagos State Commander, Callys Alumona, represented by the Deputy Commander, Drug Demand Reduction, NDLEA Lagos State Command, Eziaghighala Chinyerem, while explaining the dangers of illicit usage said that drug abuse and trafficking is a predisposing factor to other criminal activities in the society, including armed robbery, rape, terrorism, ritual murders and other social vices.
“An insecure society is not habitable for any sane individual. There is no better time than now for all stakeholders to rise and join NDLEA, the leading agency in this war to make our country a better, safe and habitable nation.
“All hands must be on deck to fight against this monster before it destroys our society. It is achievable if we jointly gird our loins and fight headlong using evidence-based strategies that will yield a positive result. The atmosphere is already filled with overwhelming challenges in economy and security but with determination from all fronts, resounding victory will achieve at last.”
Addressing drug challenges in health and humanitarian crises” The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, or World Drug Day, is marked on June 26 every year to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving a world free of drug abuse.