NATIONAL Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Kwara state government have agreed to combat increasing rate of drug abuse among youth in the state.

Speaking with journalists during a one-day medical seminar, tagged, “kick off drug abuse among youth in Ilorin, organised by reigning Miss Tourism, Queen Nimat Siaka, the head, drug demand reduction unit in the agency, Mr. Friday Oluwi, described drug abuse among youth in the state as worrisome.

“Drug abuse situation in Kwara state is worrisome because people abuse different kinds of drugs. In fact, when I use the word drug abuse , I should interchange it with substance abuse. There are so many substances that are being abused. There are some illicit drugs. These drugs are for normal treatment of ailment but people now use them for abuse sake. Just to get high. For purposes the drug are not meant. And producers are selling, people are dying”, he said.

Mr. Oluwi, who however said that the agency had entered into agreement with the state government to tackle the menace, said the agency had engaged in rehabilitation of clients.

“We appeal, lecture and sensitise people to know danger inherent in drug abuse and consequences of abusing drugs. We appeal. We don’t see abusers as criminals, rather we see them as victims that need help. If they continue in that way and we don’t bring them back in love they may neve recover. So we do what we call counselling, treatment and rehabilitation. And we carry out public enlightenment campaign. For those who had never used drugs let them not use it. But those who have entered it they should retrace their step, for those who are deterrent, they need rehabilitation. But rehabilitation is not cheap. Its expensive. The minimum period you will be with us in NDLEA is three months. The assessment period. For the 90 days, the parents will have to be responsible for the feeding, and the medication. Most parents when they come around, they discover that they have to play that role and sometimes they live with their problems. So in other states, the assistance like feeding of clients is being provided by state government. But we have not received such as at now. The commissioner for Health has just invited me to see him for possible intervention. We hope something productive will come out of that.

“People are addicted and they are roaming about the street, because of level of poverty, their family cannot handle it. That’s the situation,” he said. Link between broken homes and drug abuse

Drug impacts on the brain. There s what called brain damage. The moment one is becoming an addict his level of performance , the way he reasons will start like memory loss. He would start forgetting things. From there he would start not to behave well, if he had been behaving well. Someone who is not behaving well cannot handle a home. So, it leads to family disintegration. Misunderstanding in the family. It impoverish the family and they become poor. What’s supposed to be used for the upkeep of the family is being diverted to drugs. And this fellow who is an addict can sell everything. And they are not organized, in fact, they are confused. So we try to bring their level of confusion down and bring them back. I talk of withdrawal syndrome. They get punished for time to stop. And when someone gets punished, he cannot do it on his own. So we have to confine them and treat them. They are free within the rehabilitation centre, hut they cant go home. They have to be there to take their medication, eat good food and go through counselling. Its a complete programme.

Success rate

Yes. Our success rate is 80 per cent in Kwara state. And by UNODC assessment, we top the chart. Why is it so? Every 10 persons discharged, we expect two back. Why would they come back? The nature of the drug the person was abusing. The nature of his system or the way the person is made up, facilities available for the rehabilitation, then level of cooperation of the family. Because most families, when they are recovering, they don’t want to take them back again. The acceptance. And they don’t trust them any longer.

So, in rehabilitation, when we professional do our works, parents have to do their own. Even person that is being rehabilitated have a role to play and then our medical team.

The state government in rehabilitation in Kwara state, we continue to enlighten both government and people. We’ ll continue to reach out to them and others to know that where there’s poverty if left to parents alone there’ ll be problems. We live in same society with these people. So anything we can do to help them should be done.

Cases this year

There are 25 clients with us at rehabilitation. We have discharged about 32 persons. Age range is between 20-45 and recently someone of 53 years came . but since rehabilitation move is not by force, he said he does not belong there. He told his people that hr couldn’t stay. Opinion of person coming for rehabilitation is always considered.

So we receive them in three ways. First, walk in, which is rear. Two. Through parent and family. They may have discussed with the person if not violent. If violent, they seek our assistance to bring the person for rehabilitation. There, the work that should have been done at home is done there. We will need to convince the person to let him know why he needs help. If he insisted he does not need help, we don’t force. But where we are able to counsel the person, and realised through self realisation, he’s admitted till hes discharged. The third way is when we go on raid and people are looking for drug dealers. In the course, may be in the joints. All of them would be arrested for investigation. If discovered that one is a user of drugs or an addict, his parents would be contacted to tell them that their ward is in need of help. They are then invited. Why? For feeding and medication.

Challenge

As at today, federal government brought manpower. The states are supposed to use us. So,if the States can come in to assist it will bring better result.

Involvement of security agents in drug abuse.

Drug abuse is no respecter of any religion, sex or class or profession or tribe. Its a global scourge. Law enforcement agents could be involved. Even those in spiritual work and those in highly places. And please note that not all drug users are addicts. There are three stages to addiction. It’s just a final stage. Uniform people also come for rehabilitation. Organisation can bring its official for rehabilitation by contacting the family. Takes long leave to go for rehabilitation. They go back to work after rehabilitation.

We detach criminality in drug abuse in our department. The addict has brain problem and does not know what he’s doing. Its people around that knows he’s sick.

Also speaking, the project manager of the seminar, Queen Nimat Siaka, Sociologist, said she was propelled to embark on the project because she was robbed twice by youth of her age and thus prompted her to tackle the menace.

“They are frustrated and they get involved in drugs. They engage in drug to commit dastardly crime. So, we mobilise and sensitise youth against drug abuse. We take the campaign across states. We also refer clients to rehabilitation centre. Despite challenges encountered we keep on”, she said.

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