The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), says it will establish six standard rehabilitation centres in each geo-political zone of Nigeria starting from 2022.
The Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd) disclosed this at the 5th Biennial National Symposium on Drugs and Drug Policy in Nigeria, held on Thursday in Abuja.
The theme of the symposium organised by the Centre for Research and Information on Substance Abuse (CRISA) is: “Substance Use, Additive Behaviours and COVID-19.”
Marwa, who was the Guest of Honour at the symposium, said that the decision was part of efforts to treat the high number of persons suffering from drug addiction in the country.
He said that when established, the centres would complement various efforts by the Federal, State and Local Governments.
Marwa said that three of the centres would start next year as already proposed in the 2022 budget.
“Substance use and abuse around the world including Nigeria is on the increase in terms of the proportion of the world population.
“Findings from the National Drug Use Survey (2018) conducted by the UNODC revealed that 14.4 per cent or 14.3 million Nigerians aged 15 to 64 years had used a psychoactive substance in the past year for non-medical purposes.
“This means that One in Seven persons has used some substances other than alcohol and tobacco.
“More worrisome is the finding that among every four drug users in Nigeria, one is a woman.
“Above findings of the survey by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) give a troubling portrait of drug abuse in Nigeria and we can no longer live in denial that Nigeria has a thriving illicit drug culture.”
He said that the agency had also appealed to state governments to build more habitation centers, as existing ones were inadequate.
The NDLEA chairman added that there was no doubt that substance use was impacting negatively on the individual, family and the society in general.
“Substance abuse affects the physical, social and psychological levels of the user and family members.
“Evidence has shown that COVID-19 infections are higher or more common with people diagnosed with Substance Use Disorders (SUD).
“Hence, addiction care must be reinforced in order to avoid complications of SUD and COVID-19.
“Reducing the demand for illicit drugs in the society depends to a large extent on the successful treatment of existing drug users.
“This fact accounts for the shift in global drug policy viz the treatment of drug problems as a public health issue.
“Consequently, we have operationalised our Standard Practice and Policy Guidelines, a treatment and rehabilitation document developed in conjunction with UNODC.
“The document, like a field manual, provides synergy among our counsellors and further boosts our capability at treatment and rehabilitation,”Marwa said.
He enjoined all stakeholders and individuals to join NDLEA war against the growing threat of substance in the nation, saying that NDLEA could not do it alone.
The Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary and Public Petitions, Mr Luke Onofiok, described drugs and substance abuse as delicate issues that were fast gaining attention in Nigeria and the world.
Onofiok said there was increasing indulgence of Nigeria populace in the injurious pastime of hard drugs consumption.
“The statistics are scary, to say the least, considering the impact of drug use on the economy, productivity, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), crime, law enforcement and governance.
“The situation should raise concerns among policy makers and among parents, most of whose children are vulnerable, and could slip into the unhealthy drug consumption vortex.’’
Onofiok said there was a broad consensus that many crimes committed in the society involved individuals who were under the influences of either alcohol or drugs.
He urged government and policy makers to make available funding to establish treatment facilities and to support and expand existing ones like the Drop-in-centres, earlier initiated and supported by the European Union/UNODC.
“Research and very delicate studies have yielded interesting results, indicating that most drug users who were incarcerated, did not return from supposed correctional facilities better than they went in.
“Whereas those who were committed to treatment facilities turned out with more positive outcomes; most were likely to kick the habit,’’Onofiok said.
The Executive Director of CRISA, Prof Isidore Obot, said it was not a surprise that the institute decided to focus the theme of the symposium on the link between psychoactive substance use and COVID-19.
Obot said that the pandemic that has wreaked havoc and continues to inflict pain across the world, including in Nigeria.
Obot said that: “The use of illicit drugs like cocaine and heroin, and illicit substances like alcohol is associated with COVID-19 in several ways.
“In countries where data are available, we have seen that the stress, anxiety and depression brought about by COVID have led to an increase in the abuse of stimulants, opioids, alcohol and benzodiazepines.
“During the pandemic, we have seen a spike in opioid overdose and related mortality; harmful use of alcohol (in terms of frequency, quantity and type) has been reported in several countries.
He noted that the pandemic also had a clear impact on drug supply.
Highlights of the occasion include public presentation of a book entitled “CRISA 30 Years of Impact’’ and cutting of cake to mark CRISA 30th Anniversary. (NAN)
Shaibu Relocates Office Out Of Edo Govt House
The Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shuaibu has commenced the relocation of his office to an area outside the vicinity of the Government House.
The development follows last of Shuaibu’s suit filed at the Federal High Court to stop alleged plots by week’s withdrawal the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, to remove him from office.
The new office is situated at No. 7, Dennis Osadebey Avenue, close to the Government House.
Sources close to the deputy governor said that a letter was sent by the Head of Service to the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Deputy Governor instructing her to supervise the movement of civil servants and files to the new office.
It was also gathered that the new office is not habitable as there is no electricity, is waterlogged, and the office spaces are significantly small.
The state government had however insisted that the deputy governor’s new office is within the confines of the area designated as the Government House.
NARD SET TO CALL OF STRIKE AFTER SENATE’S INTERVENTION
••• Cancels Planned National Protest
Striking members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) are set to call off their two week old strike after a closed door meeting with Principal Officers of the Senate on Tuesday.
Adressing the media shortly after the closed door meeting with President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio and other Principal Officers of the Senate, National President of the association, Dr Emeka Innocent Orji, stated “we had a very fruitful meeting with the Senate led by the President of the Senate and from our discussions with them, we are very hopeful that when we table our discussions today before the NEC, something positive would come out.
“From our interaction with the President of the Senate and the practical demonstration he did before us today, we are very confident that there would be light at the end of the tunnel in the next 24 hours.
“Because of the intervention of the President of the Senate, who is the number three citizen and the assurance he has given us, our planned national protest has been cancelled while the decision on the ongoing strike would be taken as soon we meet, he assured.
Speaking in the same vein, Senator Akpabio, thanked the medical doctors for honoring the Senate by calling off their planned national protest and also working towards calling off the strike.
According to him, ” I thank you onbehalf of the Senate for honoring us with your decision not only to cancel the planned public protest, but to also call off the strike in the interest of the suffering masses.
“Your demands are well noted and let me assure you that as soon as a Minister in charge of Health is appointed, the Senate will work with him or her to expeditiously adress all your grievances. The President Bola Tinubu-led administration is Doctors friendly and that explains the large number of medical practitioners he has appointed into his cabinet.
“Strike by medical practitioners should not be allowed even for a day because of the impacts it creates in the polity and that is why the Senate is determined to ensure through interactions and consultation with relevant offices, amicable settlement of the impasse is reached,” he stated.
President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio (3rd from left), Dr Emeka Innocent Orji (middle) Senate Leader, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele and Senator Ireti Kingibe (first from right)after a meeting with national officers of NARD in the office the President of the Senate on Tuesday.
Nigerian-Made Noodles Safe To Eat, Says NAFDAC
The agency re-assured the public that it is proactive and committed to protecting the health of the public.
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has certified noodles manufactured in Nigeria, saying they are safe for consumption.
The confirmation followed the Agency’s investigation into the presence of ethylene oxide or its metabolite in noodles or their seasonings.
This was made known by the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof Moji Adeyeye, during a press briefing in Lagos on Thursday.
She noted that ethylene oxide or its derivative was not found in any of the instant noodles produced in Nigeria and their seasonings which make them safe for consumption.
The NAFDAC boss also declared that the level of mycotoxin and the heavy metals were within the internationally acceptable limit.
“Therefore, the noodles made in Nigeria are very safe to eat,” she stated.
Giving account of how the sampling of the noodles was conducted, she said, “Samples of chicken flavoured instant noodles of various brands (and the seasonings) were drawn from the production facilities across the country.
“This was to ensure that the investigation was robust, covering other instant noodles brands manufactured in Nigeria, besides Indomie, the implicated brand.
“The Post Marketing Surveillance Division also visited markets/retail outlets in the major cities of Lagos, Abuja, and Kano and drew samples of instant noodles for laboratory analysis.
“The market visits served as surveillance for the presence of the Taiwan and Malaysian special chicken noodles in the Nigerian market.
“The samples drawn from production facilities and trade were properly packaged and delivered in good condition to our Central Laboratory, Oshodi, Lagos, where analytical activities commenced immediately in accordance with international standards and methods of analysis.”
For the sampling, a total of 114 samples of instant noodles and the seasonings were received, the NAFDAC DG stated.
The agency re-assured the public that it is proactive and committed to protecting the health of the public.
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