The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Monday called on stakeholders and well meaning Nigerians to participate in the campaign against illicit drug activities in the country.
Ahmed Mamuda, Rivers State Commander of NDLEA, made the call in a statement issued to journalists by Mr Emmanuel Ogbumgbada, the State Public Affairs Officer, Media and Advocacy Unit, in Port Harcourt.
Mamuda stated that action and cooperation in achieving a world free of drug abuse needed to be strengthened as the world commemorate the 2023 United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, on June 26.
He stated that the 2023 world Anti-drug day with the theme: “People First: Stop Stigma and Discrimination, Strengthen Prevention”, would begin with a week-long activities.
According to Mamuda, this year’s campaign aims to raise awareness about the importance of treating people who use drugs with respect and empathy.
He stated that this year’s campaign also aimed at providing evidence-based voluntary services for all, offering alternatives to punishment, prioritising prevention and leading with compassion.
“The aim of the campaign is also to combat stigma and discrimination against people who use drugs by promoting language and attitudes that are respectful and non-judgmental,” he said.
Mamuda stated that the retired Brig-. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa-led NDLEA have lined up various programmes as from June 19 for the celebration.
He stated that some of activities line up for the week included media talk shows on various radio and television stations across the state, drug free walk session, sensitisation of various groups and schools,
“Others are motor parks, market places, estates, churches, mosques, government and non-governmental organisations,” he stated.
Mamuda said that the NDLEA, in partnership with Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Rivers Branch and the Management of the University of Port Harcourt, would end the week-long campaign with a symposium on June 26 at the old Convocation Arena of the university.
According to him, the world drug problem is a complex issue that affects millions of people worldwide.
He said that many people who abuse drugs face stigma and discrimination which could further harm their physical and mental health and prevent them from accessing the help they needed.
“The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recognizes the importance of taking a people-centered approach to drug policies, with a focus on human rights, compassion, and evidence-based practices.
“We, therefore, call on well meaning people of Rivers and, indeed, Nigerians, to join hands with us to stamp out the menace of illicit drug activities,” Mamuda said.