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Over 2 million people in S’South use psychoactive substances – NDLEA

By Agency Report

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No fewer than 2.1 million persons aged between 15 and 64 years in the South-South region, use psychoactive substances, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has said.

Stella Ngwoke, the Commander, NDLEA command in Port Harcourt Ports, made the disclosure in Onne on Wednesday at an event to mark the 2024 United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse.

Mrs Ngwoke who quoted statistics from the National Drug Use Survey, 2018, said that about 14.3 million persons aged between 15 and 64 used illicit drugs in the country.

“We are talking about drug use for non-medical purposes. It has also been discovered that one out of every four drug user, is a woman.

“In Rivers, the prevalence rate is 15 per cent of the said population which is estimated at 580,000 people,” she said.

The commander listed, hemp, tramadol, morphine and cough syrups containing codeine as the mostly abused substances in the South-South region.

Mrs Ngwoke said that the current realities about drug intake in the country required that governments at all levels and relevant stakeholders should rise to the occasion.

She said that NDLEA had already taken proactive steps to ensure a balanced approach towards reducing the demand for the regularly abused drugs.

The NDLEA official said that part of the approach was the suppression of the supply of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as stipulated in the National Drug Control Master Plan, 2020-2025.

The commander said that already, the agency’s interdiction effort at the ports had led the the seizure of large shipment of drugs from India.

Mrs Ngwoke stated that in May, the agency seized no fewer than 1,750 cartons of cartons of cough syrup with codeine, weighing 26,250kg.

‘”Also, in June, another seizure of 875 cartons of cough syrup with codeine, also containing 17,500 bottles, and weighing 26,250kg was made.

“The street value of the drug in these two operations is estimated at over N4 billion,’’ she said.

Mrs Ngwoke said that in addition to the seizure, mop-up operations were carried out around the Port Harcourt Ports corridor to dislodge drug joints.

Also speaking, the Special Guest of Honour, Mohammed Babadende, expressed worries that drug abuse was ravaging the country.

He said that drug abuse had since metamorphosed into a global problem with a multifaceted challenge that touched on the lives of millions of people globally.

Mr Babadende commended the NDLEA for working assiduously to tackle drug abuse, trafficking and addiction in the country.

“We all know that drug availability, affordability and accessibility are directly influenced by addiction,” he said.

Bayo Adepoju, the Deputy Director, Port Operations, NAFDAC, said that although tramadol and codeine were prescription drugs, it is illegal for anyone to have them in large quantity.

NAN

 

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