As part of efforts by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration to dissuade resident of the state from indulging in drug abuse, the Edo State Government has commenced a massive sensitisation campaign against the menace of drug and substance abuse.
The campaign tagged, “Stop Drug Abuse in Edo”, kicked off with the launch of the anti-drug abuse billboard at the Kings Square in Benin City, the Edo State Capital.
Unveiling the billboard, Commissioner for Health and Chairman of Edo State Anti-Drug Abuse Committee, Dr. Patrick Okundia, described the timing for the programme as apt, adding, “We are approaching the end and Christmas season when people are tempted to indulge in intake of substances to a fault.
“Stopping drug abuse is putting an end to its ugly effects such as criminal acts, damage to body organs, dropping out of school, broken marriages, loss of job and premature death.”
“According to a drug abuse survey conducted in Nigeria by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2018, the estimated prevalence of drug abuse is 14.4 precent. In Edo State, the estimated prevalence rate is 15 percent, corresponding to 330,000 persons that have drug abuse problem”, he added.
Dr. Okundia said the Committee is using the campaign as an opportunity to draw the attention of members of the public to the dangers of drug abuse, urging the people to refer anyone with drug–related problem for immediate counseling and rehabilitation.
Edo State Coordinator, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Pharm. Itua Esther, commended the effort of the governor and members of the committee for focusing on drug abuse in the state, noting that the campaign reiterates the government’s efforts in tackling the menace.
Assistant State Commander of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Edo State, Usman Suleiman, applauded the Obaseki-led government’s efforts in tackling drug abuse in the state.
He said there is no crime without drugs, adding, “When we have a drug free society, we will have a crime free society”.
Deputy Superintendent of Correctional Services, Aminu Sulieman, maintained that drug abuse has destroyed lives of many youths in the country and the choice to tackle the issue head-long is a welcome development for the people of Edo State.