Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Edo State government has disclosed plans to set up a rehabilitation centre for victims of drug abuse in the state.
The Commissioner for Health and Chairman, Edo State Drug Control Committee (ESDCC), Dr David Osifo, disclosed this in Benin City recently, during the commemoration of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drugs Trafficking.
Osifo said the centre would be established by the state government in collaboration with the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) and the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Uselu; an arrangement which would enable victims of drug abuse access adequate treatment and rehabilitation.
He said there was an unmet need for drug abuse treatment in Nigeria, adding that statistics have shown through Drug Use Survey that nearly 40 per cent of high-risk users wanted treatment but were unable to get any.
Osifo declared that it was on this note that the Edo State Drug Control Committee developed a proposal to set up the centre taking into cognisance the peculiar needs of psychiatric patients who roam the streets as a result of drug abuse.
According to him, “once the centre is open, we will take victims of drug abuse from the streets and give them adequate treatment.”
He said Edo has the second highest prevalence rate of drug abuse in the South-South region at 15.5 per cent, after Delta State with a prevalence rate of 18.0 per cent.
Osifo said the committee was also working to reduce drug abuse by promoting prevention, social inclusion and protection as well as building the knowledge for justice and healthy living.
“We will be involved in advocacy visits to schools, religious and traditional places, and we want parents to teach their children the consequences of drug abuse,” he said.
He noted that the 2019 theme for the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drugs Trafficking, ‘Health for Justice, Justice for Health’ highlights the need for inclusive and accountable institutions for criminal justice, health and social services to work together to provide integrated solutions.
Osifo stated that activities to commemorate the event in the state include campaigns in mosques, churches and a public presentation of two books: A Dance Against Taboo and The Last Syndicate.