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In a fresh report by the agency, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has announced that it has arrested over 17, 647 offenders which also included 10 drug barons between January 2021 and May 2022.
The agency also revealed that it has also convicted and jailed over 2,369 drug offenders within the same period while 154,667.339 kilogrammes of illicit drugs and other substances were taken in the first five months of the year 2022.
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At a press conference in Abuja on Monday, Buba Marwa, the Chairman of NDLEA disclosed that “in 2021, about 8,000 drug users were counselled and rehabilitated, in most cases through brief interventions while an additional 3,523 were also counselled and treated at NDLEA facilities.
Marwa who was appointed to head the anti-narcotics agency in January, last 2021, said: “This year’s theme for the UN Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking beams its light on an area of the drug problem that has until recent years been on the backburner of the drug discourse.”
He added that: “For us at the Agency, we are abreast of time and trends as shown by the priority accorded treatment and care.”
Marwa noted that: “While the world has been grappling with the illicit drugs conundrum for over three decades, changing dynamics in the decade have forced a paradigm shift and re-adjusted perspectives that allow for drug narratives to be seen as exacerbating factors in multidimensional situations.
“That has brought to the fore the imperative of looking at the drug problem through the lens of public health and also tackling such as a broader social problem rather than through the conventional, narrow, criminal matter approach.
”It has, therefore, also become prudent to initiate mechanisms and measures that are proactively extenuating. In our case, the National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP) 2021-2025, launched last November, has incorporated components that tend to the health concerns of drug abuse.”
He said to help drug users suffering in silence, the agency will soon be unveiling the NDLEA Call Centre, to be manned by professionals and experts in counselling, psychotherapy, psychology, and psychiatry to offer help to drug users who will make use of the toll-free lines to seek counselling 24/7, adding that this will also enable those afraid of stigmatisation seek help without necessarily being seen or identified by anyone.