The agency described the situation as a menace that was capable of jeopardising their future, if not urgently addressed.
In an exclusive interview with Channels Television, the Director General of the Agency, Dr. Isa Baka, said that the alarming rate in the abuse of unconventional substances such as cocaine, codeine, tramadol, marijuana and other narcotic substances by youths and women in the state had contributed immensely to the increase of unemployment, crime and other ills in the society.
He identified poverty, marital problems, lack of parental care, and non-effective public enlightenment as some of the factors responsible for the increasing rate of drug abuse in the society.
Dr. Baka also explained that his office was working in collaboration with the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other individuals and organisations in the war to reduce substance abuse in the state.
“Statistics from some of the institutions that researches were conducted, showed that the prevalent rate was as high as 60 to 70 per cent of students using substances, while in the general group is about 30 to 60 per cent.
“So, you can see that we are talking of a percentage of about 50 and that is very high.
“And as far as substance abuse is concerned, statistics have shown that it is better to prevent than to allow it affect the individual.
“We are planning that we will not only help to eradicate abuse of substances, or cure the victims, but we will also try to rehabilitate them. Rehabilitation is an integral aspect of helping patients from staying away from taking substances. We want to keep people busy so that they will not become the devil’s workshop,” he said.
Involvement Of Teenagers
The Director General of the Agency decried the involvement of teenagers in drug abuse, expressing fears that the involvement would jeopardise their future.
“Now most of those affected are the ones under 10-16 years. And that is a very high population substance abuse. At times, when we are conducting researches, people will hide information because of the legal or moral problem particularly among women. No woman will want to be seen as abusing substances. Today, a young girl will take it as a normal thing. In the past, it was considered culturally wrong for a woman to be on the street, roaming about,” he pointed out.
Dr. Baka further said that the agency would engage other agencies like Prison Service, NDLEA, NAFDAC and NGOs among others to address the growing involvement of young persons in the use of drugs.
“We are going to involve the Ministry of Education, several other organisations to make sure we restore sanity in our society. As far as substance abuse is concerned, we want people selling drugs to have licence and know what they are doing so that they won’t be selling drugs to a set of people who don’t need them,” he added.