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Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brigadier General Buba Marwa (retd), Monday said that the agency cannot win the war against illicit drugs without the collaboration of all the necessary stakeholders.

Gen. Marwa stated this at the 2023 United Nations International Day against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking with the theme: “People First: Stop stigma and discrimination, strengthen prevention “, at the Old Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He cautioned against stigmatizing persons under the web of drug addicts, saying that such persons deserve sympathy and support

According to him, “By focusing on “people first,” we recognise that individuals struggling with drug abuse are not defined solely by their addiction.

“They are human beings with inherent dignity, deserving of understanding, empathy, and support. Hence, we must work to break down the barriers that prevent people from seeking help and foster an environment where they feel safe, respected, and encouraged to access the necessary treatments and interventions.

“A crucial part of this assignment is addressing stigma and discrimination in attitudes and practices that create additional hurdles for those seeking assistance. Our prejudices hinder their access to healthcare, employment, and social support systems. By raising awareness, educating communities, and promoting acceptance, we can challenge these harmful stereotypes and foster a society that embraces individuals on their path to recovery.”


He further said, “Prevention plays a pivotal role in curbing the spread of drug abuse and its associated harms. Strengthening prevention efforts involves implementing evidence-based strategies, promoting early intervention, and providing comprehensive education to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about substance use.

“By investing in prevention, we empower individuals to lead healthy and drug-free lives; that way, we are helping to reduce the demand for illicit substances and ultimately mitigate the negative consequences for individuals, families, and communities.


“As we embrace the World Drug Day theme for 2023, let us join forces to stop the stigmatisation and discrimination faced by individuals affected by drug abuse. Together, we can create a supportive environment that nurtures empathy, understanding, and recovery. By strengthening prevention measures, we can empower individuals to make informed choices and build resilient communities that prioritise health and well-being.”

He said that the NDLEA remains committed to the fight against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking.


“We have intensified our operations, expanded our intelligence networks, and collaborated with local and international partners to dismantle drug cartels, seize illicit drugs, and bring the perpetrators to justice. In the past 29 months, 31,675 drug offenders have been brought to book, among them 35 barons, and so far, 5,147 have earned jail terms, with over 6, 252 tons of illicit drugs seized . Some of the prosecuted offenders have forfeited their ill-gotten wealth to the government.

“This is even as we continue to prioritise prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation, ensuring that those affected by drugs are given the necessary support and care they need to rebuild their lives. To this end, NDLEA commissioned a Drug Abuse Call Centre with a 24/7 toll-free helpline – 080010203040 to attend to individuals with drug challenges and their families.

“The centre is manned by a team of professionals, including psychologists, psychotherapists, counsellors, social workers, mental health specialists, and psychiatry doctors who provide support to people who use drugs and their family members, without the fear of being judged or stigmatised, to facilitate recovery and manage social and emotional problems, thereby improving their quality of life.”

Source: Vanguard


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