The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is observed every year on June 26th. The day is dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of drug abuse and the illegal trade of drugs.
Drug abuse is a major problem in Nigeria, with a significant number of young people falling prey to the menace. The use of drugs not only affects the physical and mental health of individuals but also has a negative impact on their families and society as a whole.
The illegal trade of drugs is also a major concern with drug traffickers using the country as a transit point for the transportation of drugs to other parts of the world.
The theme for the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in 2023 is “People first: stop stigma and discrimination, strengthen prevention”. According to the need for The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) it emphasises on the importance of taking a people-centered approach to drug policies, with a focus on human rights, compassion, and evidence-based practices.
The Theme also seeks to raise awareness about the negative impact of stigma and discrimination on people who use drugs and their families and to advocate for alternatives to imprisonment for drug-related crimes, such as community-based treatment and services.
In a statement to mark the day, UNODC quoted a report by the World Drug Report 2023 that indicated that over 296 million people globally used drugs in 2021, a 23 percent increase from the previous decade.
The report highlighted social and economic inequalities as drivers of drug abuse. Others are environmental devastation and human rights abuses caused by illicit drug economies, and the rising dominance of synthetic drugs.
The statement advocated more treatment centres for drug-related disorders as demands remain largely unmet.
In Nigeria, the government has taken several measures to address the issue of drug abuse and illicit trafficking. The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) the primary agency responsible for the control of drugs in Nigeria is working tirelessly to combat drug trafficking and abuse in the country.
The NDLEA, State Governments and some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have also been involved in several awareness campaigns to educate the public about the dangers of drug abuse, but experts say more still needs to be done.
SOURCE: Radio Nigeria