NDLEA creates 30 rehabilitation centres to address drug abuse menace

Chijioke Iremeka

The Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa, says one key initiative it put in place to drastically reduce substance abuse and provide treatment for those in need was to establish 30 treatment and counselling centres across the country.

He said the agency chooses the path of awareness as a preventive measure, stressing that when people know the dangers associated with the substance they are about to abuse or abuse, they may likely retrace their steps.

The NDLEA boss, who spoke in Abuja when the Executive Director of the Vanguard Against Drug Abuse, Dr Hope Omeiza, paid a courtesy visit to the agency to strengthen the campaign against substance abuse, said with awareness and education, drug abusers would be deterred.

He noted that for those already abusing substances, the NDLEA has a responsibility to provide help for them, saying, “And that’s why we have treatment and counselling centres across the country. We have 30 of them across our Commands.”

Marwa said the visit has strengthened the partnership on the campaign against drug abuse, treatment and rehabilitation of drug users.

The chairman, who was represented by the NDLEA Director, Media and Advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi, said that the agency had gone further to see how other states could be mobilised to support rehabilitated Nigerians with skills that will help them to re-integrate into society.

Marwa said to address drug abuse and protect those afraid of stigmatization or being judged introduce a toll-free helpline, which enables individuals to reach out to experts from the comfort of their homes.

He noted that drug addicts tend to be scared of arrest and afraid to go to treatment centres to seek help.

The chairman added, “One of the things the agency has also done to encourage them to seek help is setting up a call centre with a toll-free helpline, 0800 10203040.

“With that helpline, anybody can sit in the comfort of their homes in any part of the country and make a call to the toll-free helpline. And there at the other end, we have our counsellors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychotherapists, among others to assist these people.

“If they check and realise some of them need to be sent or referred to a rehabilitation centre, they do so and also follow up in the course of their treatment.”

He commended VGADA on the planned National Youth Conference on drug abuse slated for June 26 to mark the 2024 International Day Against Drug Abuse, saying that the rehabilitation centre had done well in ensuring proper treatment and rehabilitation of drug users in Nigeria.

Marwa said, “I give thumbs up to VGADA for the initiative. This is not its first in this regard; it has been working and partnering with the agency to advance the course of better public health.

“We are happy they are doing this again to bring the youths together at a conference to teach them all they need to know concerning drug abuse and to guide them on the dangers of substance abuse.

“That is why we are supporting them and as a result, we encourage all our youths to make it a date.”

On his part, the VGADA boss, Dr Hope Omeiza said that the centre was committed to the wellbeing of citizens, and would do whatever it takes to eliminate or drastically reduce to the barest minimum, the use of illicit drugs and substances across the country.

“Our organisation does not castigate people who abuse drugs but we do our work creatively with distinction and honour. Our role is to make a positive impact in every community so that our nation will be a better place to live and work. We will not relent,” he said.

Omeiza added that World Drug Day, which is celebrated annually on June 26, is meant to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving a world free of drug abuse.



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