Wife of Abia State Governor, Deaconess Nkechi Ikpeazu has lauded the National Drug, Law, Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in the state on their efforts to fight against sales and circulation of illicit drugs in the state.
Deaconess Ikpeazu who was a special guest of honour at a rally organized by NDLEA in partnership with other Non-Governmental Organizations in the state to mark 2019 United Nations Day against Drug Abuse and Trafficking, with the theme “Health for Justice, Justice for Health” said it has become imperative that Abians joined in the campaign against distribution, sale and consumption of illicit and psychotropic substances which she noted to becoming worrisome.
Abia First lady represented by a Permanent Secretary in Abia State Civil Service, Mr. Eze Ajuzie said the war against drug abuse and drug trafficking must be holistic and shouldn’t be left in the hands of NDLEA alone.
According to her, “we stop the rising incidents of drug abuse and trafficking. Drug abuse used to be something that we hear on the streets, but surprisingly even in our secondary schools, teenagers are abusing drugs and most alarmingly, in primary schools.
“We now receive reports of various children also abusing drugs. It is a pointer to the fact that the family cohesion is disintegrating. So, the wife of the governor seizes the opportunity to call on all parents to be alive to their responsibility.
“They should nurture their children and to give their children, quality time and to make sure that they engage in wholesome recreational activities supervised by the parents themselves, that way, perhaps, we can reduce incidences of drug abuse in our society.
“The exercise today is one of the steps that the state government is taking to ensure that incidences of drug abuse are reduced in the state and the society at large. We are sensitizing and talking directly to the people.
“Apart from that, the Office of Wife of the Governor has partnered with NDLEA to go to secondary schools through the schools outreach where we talk to students and pupils about the dangers of drug abuse and trafficking, every year, we hold retreat for teenagers in secondary schools where we teach them life supporting and programmes.
For someone to stop or continue taking drugs after being counseled is a mindset problem. If you quit drugs, you have quitted drugs for good. What we are trying to do is to ensure that they leave drug in the first place.
“Once they left drug for good, they can’t go back. That is why this type of sensitization is very important.”
In a remark, Mrs. Ngozi Nwankwo of Daniel Nwankwo Foundation; an agency partnering NDLEA in the fight against drug abuse and trafficking in the state called for the establishment of rehabilitation home in the state which she noted will go a long way in helping to rehabilitate some drug addicts that wants to give up their habit.
Mrs. Nwankwo, who commended the NDLEA for their efforts in rehabilitating and reintegrating some of the addicts in their facility, stated that building a rehabilitation center in the state by the state government would go a long way in complimenting what the NDLEA is doing.
“We are saying that healthy living is what should be everybody’s business regardless of gender. We all deserve good and healthy living. We deserve to have a way to look after ourselves when we are sick.
“It is however, the duty of the government to ensure that there will be a rehabilitation center(s) where our brothers and sisters with drug related challenges can be treated.
“Experts have researched and it has become clear that it can be treated. At the rehabilitation center, the drug addicts will be helped through the assistance of NDLEA and other professionals to ensure that drugs will be flushed out from their system.
This will help them to not only recover, but to be free from drugs and to live a normal life. But the problem especially in Abia State is that we don’t have rehabilitation center. The one at NDLEA office in Aba is working but they need more support from government and stakeholders to ensure that it works to capacity.
“Time has gone when people say that it is not treatable. Intake of hard drug is not the same with someone that has gone mad. There are cases of people whose cases have been corrected.
We need a rehabilitation center in Abia State where they will be taken to for proper attention of the sick ones.
The rehab center should be affordable; people should be able to pay for the health services that they will receive, accessible; it should be close to the people, acceptable; it should be a place that anyone regardless of any religion should be able to accept going to and should be safe; it should be a place for caricature.
“It is people’s right to go to the hospital to get medical care. People with cases of mental health are not treated in churches, homes or even primary health care centers.
“The one that we have is not affordable. It is only for the rich. But we need the one that the poor man on the street can afford.”
In an interview with the State Commander, NDLEA, Mr. Bamidele Akingbade listed some of the achievements that his agency has recorded in the past years including raiding and seizure of tramadol stored in a warehouse and an unauthorized and clandestine laboratory where illicit drugs were being produced, stressing that the war on sale and consumption of illicit drugs is total.
Akingbade who said that the agency is alarmed on the rate of consumption of psychotropic substances by the youths, further hinted that the agency would not relent in its quest to sensitize the public on dangers inherent in intake of illicit drugs.
“The barons are smiling to the bank, while our children are crying to the rehabilitation home. Lately, we have been raiding hotels and we have notified the state government that so many hotels especially in Aba have become a den where people use drugs and we have sent their names to the state government.
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“I am sure that very soon, that very soon, the state government is going to write these hotels, warning them of the risk they may be facing if they continue to use the premises of their hotel for the sale and consumption of illicit drugs.”