NAFDAC woos traditional, religious leaders to support fight against drug abuse

The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Moji Christianah Adeyeye, has called on traditional, religious and community leaders to support the effort to fight drug abuse and drug misuse to a stand-still in the country.

She made the call during a sensitization campaign in Nnewi in Anambra state, yesterday.

Represented by the Director of Narcotics and Control Substances of the agency, Dr. Musa Umar, the NAFDAC Director General warned that drug abuse, drug misuse and self medication are injurious to public health.

She noted that food and drug safety and security is an integral part of the national security architecture of the country, insisting that “drug security, unwholesome medicines, drug abuse, diversion of narcotics and psychotropic substances that are originally meant for medicinal use that are illegally diverted to illicit channels is injurious to public health and also injurious to national security.”

Prof. Adeyeye argued that kidnapping, arm banditry, terrorism, armed robbery and all sorts of crime are being fueled by drug abuse.

She explained that NAFDAC has been working closely with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in order to tackle the huge problem of drug abuse and drug misuse.

“This is why it is part of the strategic campaign that we are carrying out to the grassroot level.

“This time around, we are engaging the traditional institution, community and religious leaders to build a partnership because NAFDAC cannot do it alone.

“It is a clarion call. All hands should join us to fight this menace to finish. That is why we are moving from door to door with this campaign which involves road shows into communities and villages.

“All the societal social influencers like the traditional rulers, community leaders and parents should join NAFDAC in this campaign to eradicate and rid the country of the menace of drug abuse.

“We are also advising parents to watch their children in the school. You need to ask valid questions and when children come back from school, check their bags and also observe the peer group or friends of your children, it is very important,” Prof. Adeyeye said.

While noting that NAFDAC will not relent in its enforcement effort, she disclosed that in the last four years, the agency has been fighting the war against Tramadol.

“We have destroyed several containers worth hundreds of millions of naira of Tramadol that are shipped into the country and are being diverted.

“Most of the nefarious activities being committed by criminal elements, drug abuse is at the heart of it. That is why we are fighting it frontally.”

The NAFDAC Director General recalled that the national survey that was conducted by UNODC in partnership with some stakeholders including NDLEA and NAFDAC, revealed that Nigeria has almost triple the world average of the prevalence of drug abuse.

According to her, while the global average is within 5.6 per cent, Nigeria alone is around 14.4 per cent, almost triple.

This, she stressed showed that there is a critical problem of drug abuse in Nigeria, noting that, that is why NAFDAC is intensifying its campaign against drug abuse and that has been a very key element of the campaign that is ongoing from community to community.

“Apart from fueling the insecurity problem in the country, drug abuse is also trying to decimate the very vital protective segment of population which is the youth.

“Even house wives are not left out. That is why it is becoming cancerous. All hands must be on deck to combat this hydra headed problem and wrestle it to the ground. It is a total war that must be won,” she stressed.

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