Vanguard Against Drug Abuse (VGADA), an NGO, has called for a holistic approach in tackling the abuse of prohibited substances among Nigerian women and youth in the country.
Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja, the Founder of the organisation, Dr Hope Abraham, said the menace must be tamed.
NAN reports that the youths had dropped the abuse of Benylin with codeine for a popular blood tonic.
Abraham advocated a more robust response with emphasis on prevention from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other relevant law enforcement agencies.
He added that NGOs working in line with their mandates were vital assets in this regard, calling on the authorities to enter into partnership with them.
He expressed concerns over the menace and urged members of the public to assist the force with information through its various social media and community-based report channels.
“The government needs to step into this matter as it is becoming alarming and if care is not taken, the future of our youths will be jeopardised.
“NDLEA cannot effectively contain the scourge. They also need to be funded to carry out their activities effectively,” he said.
According to Abraham, for many addicts, drug abuse starts like a joke arising from peer group pressure.
He said that the group would continue to campaign against the menace of drug to ensure everyone was well informed and educated.
“We have organised a variety of social events to create awareness and find lasting solutions to drug abuse which include; road shows, symposium, conferences, workshops, as well as road walks.
“More campaigns would be organised to address this issue and we would not relent until everyone is well informed about the dangers of drug abuse,’’ he noted.
NAN reports that research by the United Nation Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) showed that out of 14 million people abusing drugs in Nigeria, there was a woman in every four.
Abraham said that cannabis was the most prevalent substance abused in Nigeria, adding that more than half of the women abusing drugs use opioids which were painkillers.
He said that the organisation was in partnership with hospitals and primary health care centres to help women on drugs who were either pregnant or nursing mothers.
Abraham urged parents and guardians to be on the lookout for their children/wards, saying parents have greater roles to play in ensuring that this menace was curbed.
“Since treatment is long and expensive, parents have to be on the alert to stop them from acquiring the habit.
“They should imbue their children with sense of confidence; they do not have to belong by depending on substances,” he said.
The NGO boss however said that the government needed to establish functional rehabilitation centres to cater for those who were addicted.