New Telegraph

December 10, 2023

Sustaining the fight against substance abuse

In recent times, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA) has intensified efforts towards the arrest and prosecution of persons suspected of substance abuse. This has helped prompt some addicts to have a re-think so as to ensure that their paths and those of the NDLEA do not cross. New Telegraph commends the NDLEA for turning increased heat on suspected traffickers and users of the hard drugs. Problems associated with the distribution, sales, trafficking and consumption of hard drugs include the manifestation of diseases and other forms of health impairment, false sense of hope and self-worth, disregard to the societal values and norms, behavioural abnormality and readiness to engage in the different acts of criminality.

A substantial number of Nigerians in different parts of the country are either traffickers or consumers of the hard drugs and could be said to be manifesting the deviant traits referred to. It is counter-productive for any country to slumber away while her citizens get railroaded into the trafficking and consumption of hard drugs. Nigeria should be seen to be intensifying pressure on traffickers and consumers of hard drugs at all times so that the suspects could while being sanctioned become reformed to make meaningful contributions to national development.

However, New Telegraph wishes to point out that much as it identifies with the arrest and prosecution of suspected traffickers and consumers of substances, we still feel that the action is reactionary, and unlikely to help result in a significant depopulation of the rising battalion of Nigerians in the captivity of illegal substances.

While continuing with the arrest and prosecution of suspected traffickers and consumers of substances, the NDLEA should deploy her energy more into preventive measures. The ability to sustain the steam on preventive measures would help project Nigeria as a winner in the war against hard drugs. Some of the individuals involved in the trafficking and consumption of hard drugs have been lured into it by bad peers and other negatively-minded persons. They should be identified in their different locations and be made to benefit from the professional services of psychologists, and experts in guidance and counselling as well as Early Childhood Education and related disciplines. These experts should strive hard to sweet talk the suspected traffickers and consumers out of hard drugs.

The transmission of wellproduced films would also help reclaim some Nigerians from the captivity of substance abuse. Such films that glamorise smoking and stimulants like alcoholism and pornography should be delisted from the harvest of films broadcast watched by the citizens. We agree that the federal, state and local governments may be incapable of employing all the Nigerian citizens. But it is an incontestable fact that each of the three tiers of administration holds the key that would help unlock the door to pave way for the eclipse of the socio-economic challenges of the populace.

While the local government councils may be muzzled with their functions and revenue-earring sources usurped by the state and federal governments respectively, the Federal Government (FG) is considered next to God. Given a lopsided federation, whereby some of the items for the local governments’ councils and states are placed on the Exclusive Legislative List and are therefore seeded to the FG, the latter has the capacity to guarantee the enabling environment that would help prompt the populace, especially the traffickers and consumers of the hard drugs, into self-employment. The referred enabling environment would usually include improved security, stable electricity, piped and drinkable water, tax-holidays, functional health, educational and transportation facilities as well as decent accommodation. The offer of such facilities should help make some individuals keep a respectable distance from hard drugs.

The three tiers of administration should always be willing to fund the medical, psychological, and psychiatrist rehabilitation of victims of substance abuse even to the extent of assisting them to acquire education and setting-up of other forms of businesses, which will replace the illicit dealing in hard drugs.

All the hospitality centres in the country should be compelled to prevent the continued distribution, sale and consumption of hard drugs as a requirement to remain in business. Technology could also be deployed to help fish out those flouting the zero tolerance on the distribution, sale and consumption of hard drugs for prompt prosecution. With the proper coordination of the referred measures, Nigeria would have herself rescued from the captivity of substance abuse.

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