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Faith-based organisations partner with FG on ending drug abuse

Panel members at the workshop in Abuja
By Bridget Ikyado/Sonia Amure
Some faith-based organisations, have forged a partnership with Federal Government agencies to put an end to drug abuse in the country.
The organisations are African Faith and Justice Network (AFJN), Dominans for Justice and Peace (DJP) and Caritas Nigeria.
Mr Josiah Emerole, Director of Public Enlightenment, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), one of the Federal Government’s  agencies, said at the workshop, organised by Caritas in Abuja, that ritual killings, cultism and violence in the society, could mainly be attributed to drug abuse.
The theme of the workshop is: “Tackling Drug Abuse, Ritual Killings & Cultism: Fashioning a Better Future with our Youths”.
Emerole said that the workshop was a response to the cry for help on the adverse effects of these destructive societal vices.
“The gathering provided an opportunity to listen to experts and safeguard the future of the youths and the nation at large.
“The specific area of focus was to bring collective experiences and talents to create awareness on the issue of drug abuse, cultism and ritual killings,” he said.
Emerole added that the workshop was aimed at developing a comprehensive workable strategy on tackling the issues, and stressed the need for accelerating efforts in doing so.
He therefore, said some religious institutions and government were collaborating to achieve the set targets of ensuring a drug-free Nigeria.
According to the NAPTIP official, who listed some of problems the wrong use of drug cause, said even some men who batter their wives are mostly influenced by illicit drugs.
He explained; “We as individuals are influencers, and the level of awareness is not enough as we need to keep speaking to people about it.”
Mr Chigbu Chilee, Assistant Director Drug Demand Reduction, and representative of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), said that everyone needed to be involved in the fight against drug abuse.
Chilee, also explained drug abuse as taking drugs without medical justification or prescription, the excessive use of socially accepted drugs and drugs that were not socially acceptable such as cocaine.
“Abusive parenting, cultural abbreviations, unemployment, poverty, depression, low self esteem, frustration and peer pressure, are some of reasons people get involved in drug abuse,” he said.
Chilee said the National Drug Use Survey, conducted in 2018 by UNODC, revealed that Cannabis was the most common drug used by 10.6 million people, followed by prescription opioids (tramadol, codeine and morphine), used by 4.6 million persons.
“Among every four drug users in Nigeria, one is a female, and one-in five persons who had used drugs, is suffering from drug use disorder.
“Drug use is most common between the ages of  25 and 39 years,” he said.
Mr Okechi Robinson, the Chief Programme Officer of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), who spoke on the prevalence of drug abuse and how it affected mostly youths, including those in tertiary institutions, expressed sadness that the menace was now reaching secondary, and even primary school pupils from 10 years.
Robinson said that the NOA was tackling the issue through the engagement of youths on skills acquisition, counselling and others. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
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Edited by Chidinma Agu/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore