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Marwa urges end to stigmatisation of persons struggling with substance abuse


Marwa urges end to stigmatisation of persons struggling with substance abuse

The Chairman, National Drug law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd) has appealed against the stigmatisation of persons struggling with substance abuse.

Marwa made the appeal during a Special Anti-Drug Abuse Conference and Public Presentation of a book, titled “The Last Syndicate” on Wednesday in Abuja.

The Voice Media Trust (VMT NEWS) reports that the event was organised by the NDLEA Celebrity Drug-Free Club to commemorate the 2023 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Trafficking.

The NDLEA boss said that the drug abuse call centre recently launched by the agency has afforded victims of drug abuse opportunity to get counselling anonymously without fear of stigmatisation.

Marwa, who was represented by the Director, Media and Advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi, said the call centre with a toll-free help line was to enable victims of drug abuse to access counselling and treatment from the comfort of their homes.

“I am glad that the patronage of the centre by members of the public is very encouraging.

“This is because the gap that has over the years existed between those who are struggling with substance abuse and the treatment they need has been bridged.

“This is also because, now they do not have the fear of being judged or fear of stigmatisation,”he said.

Marwa commended the Celebrity Drug Free Club for their commitment to the fight against drug abuse in the society and promised to continue supporting them.

“The club is a platform set up by celebrities to advance the campaign against substance abuse in the country, first within the industry where they operate and then to the larger society.

“We believe this would help to positively influence their fans and followers especially on social media.

“This would help them stay away from substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking. We must also know that indeed the agency supported some of their efforts.”

He said that the theme of the celebration, ‘People First: Stop Stigma and Discrimination, Strengthen Prevention’, reaffirmed the importance of protecting humanity from the consequences of illicit drugs and substance abuse.

The NDLEA boss therefore urged the agency’s stakeholders to continue to promote the campaign against substance abuse.

Speaking, the Coordinator, NDLEA Celebrity Drug Free Club, Mr Wilson Ighodalo expressed gratitude to the NDLEA boss for his support.

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Ighodalo said that it was important to reflect on the global challenge of illicit drugs and substance abuse and take appropriate action.

He explained that the International Day against Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking was principally to strengthen actions and cooperation in achieving the goal of a world free of drug abuse.

“The theme of the World Drug Day resonated with the Club vision of getting people involved in global campaigns.

“This year’s theme raises awareness about importance of treating people who use drugs with respect, empathy and providing evidence based quality service for all.

“We would continue to work with Celebrities with good track records to advance the campaign, “he said.

Also, the Emir of Keffi, Dr Shehu Yamusa, regretted that drug abuse has become prevalent in the country, and should be urgently tackled before it completely ruin the future of the youths.

“The problem can be tackled if we all play our roles in the eradication of drug abuse.

“Parents should try to notice signs of addiction in their children. If all stakeholders, parents, community, play their part, the fight against drug abuse will be won,” the emir said.

The author of the book, Mr Mitchell Ofoyeju, said that the publication was an anti-drug message for all citizens.

Ofoyeju, an NDLEA officer, said eliminating the menace of drug abuse and illicit trafficking would require collective action by all well-meaning citizens.

“All hands must be on deck to ensure that the issue of drug abuse and illicit trafficking is tackled collectively,” he added.

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