The Oyo State government on Monday, 26 June, 2023 expressed commitment to combat the rising rate of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking among youth and students in the State.
The Permanent Secretary, state Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusoji Adeyanju spoke in Ibadan during an occasion organized in commemoration of the United Nations International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
Dr. Adeyanju while emphasizing on the theme for the year, “People first: stop Stigma and Discrimination, Strengthen Prevention” in a press briefing held at the conference room of the Ministry, revealed that majority of drug cases were reported to be among students and youths respectively.
Hence, the need to intensify awareness on the consequences of drug abuse among the youth, became necessary.
He said the Oyo State Government has commenced intervention programmes, to tackle the menace, towards improving the health and well-being of its citizens.
“According to reports by the UNODC, in the year 2021, around 275 million people used drugs worldwide, while over 36 million people suffered from drug use disorder, consequently, the number of people using drugs increased by 22%, owing in part to global population growth”, he said.
“As a responsive government, the Oyo State government has put in place a Drug Abuse Control committee. The committee is inter-ministerial and domiciled at the state ministry of Health, saddled with the responsibilities of waging war against drug abuse and misuse in the State”
“Consequences of drug abuse and misuse are serious and dangerous. Drug abuse could lead to social, legal, financial/economic, physical and mental health consequences which may differ depending on how far the addiction has progressed and the type of drug being used”, he added.
Similarly, the Permanent Secretary reiterated that as part of the Intervention programmes, the committee would intensify the constituted drug free clubs in schools across the state, markets, motor parks, tertiary institutions among others.
He added that the intervention program will focus on providing educational and awareness campaigns by informing the general public about the dangers of drug abuse.
He also reiterated the importance of its prevention, stressing that the program will assist in developing policies that will strengthen the regulation and control of the sales and distribution of drugs.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria has also reacted to curb the excesses of drug productions, circulation, distribution and consumption by creating agencies such as NAFDAC and NDLEA with various mandates,” he added.
Also in his address, the Permanent Secretary, Hospital Management Board, Dr. Mufutao Ayoola disclosed the importance of creating a healthier community through collective efforts in addressing drug abuse.
He urged all citizens to support the intervention programme and stay away from drug abuse.
“It is gratifying to note that the issue of drug abuse has generated some interest both within and outside the country considering the consequences of the menace of Drug abuse and misuse in our society especially among the youths.”
“I want to sincerely throw my weight behind this call because all hands must be on deck to fight this menace to a standstill. It is also of great concern that the elderly ones are not left out of drug abuse and misuse, reiterating that it was reported that a 71 years old man passed on in Ibadan after taking Colorado.”
In their separate remarks, the Chairman, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Pharm. Gbenga Oguntoye and the Director Pharmacist, Ministry of Health, Pharm. Lukeman Akinwande, stated that stigma discrimination surrounding drug abuse can prevent individuals from seeking the help they need.
To this end, he said, Pharmacists are essential resources for those struggling with drug abuse by providing non-judgmental support and connecting them with proper treatment options.
The duo further revealed that the theme for the year is an excellent reminder for pharmacists to look beyond just dispensing medications.