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Ebonyi ranks highest on substance abuse — Official


Gusau university student arrested for selling hard drugs to bandits

State Coordinator, International Society for Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Professionals (ISSUP), Mr Eze Ude, said that Ebonyi has been rated highest in substance abuse among states of the federation.

Ude disclosed this to newsmen on Friday during the conclusion of a three-day workshop.

The workshop was organised by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for the National Association of Patent Proprietary Medicine Dealers (NAPPMED) in Abakaliki.

According to him, the state is rated above 13 per cent in the act of drug abuse, according to United Nations’ statistics.

“In United Nation report of 2018, research shows that globally, we have about 5.6% rate of substance abuse.

“In the country, we have 10.4% rate of substance abuse; when you convert it, the other way round, one will find out that Nigeria per cent in the act out-weighed the globe.

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“According to the same statistics, the state is over 13 per cent with this analysis, one can see the rate of substance abuse in Ebonyi and Nigeria in general,” Ude explained.

Ude who is also a Clinical Psychologist at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, and Chief Executive Officer of Brain Care Foundation said the problem had contributed significantly to the mental health of the society.

He said that a large number of young men and women at the hospital were usually seen on daily basis going down as a result of drug abuse.

He added that the abuse was in addition to other mental related problems associated with substance use.

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He, however, advised that people should understand its effect and stop the practice.

He further charged NAPPMED members, who are grassroots health caregivers, and other stakeholders to synergise towards the fight against the trend to avoid other problems emanating from the act.

Mr Aliyu Omamah, state Commander, NDLEA in his speech revealed that between January and May 2021, men of the agency had seized about 105 kilogrammes of different types of drugs in the state.

According to him, 26 per cent of the seizures is psychotropic drugs.

“According to the agency’s survey by EU and UNODC 2020, in Nigeria, 14.3 million people use drug, that is prevalence rate of 14.3 per cent (15-64 years) which is higher than the global rate of 5.6 per cent.

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“4.6 million people use prescription opioids such as tramadol or cough syrup with codeine, in the state, prevalence of drug use is 12.8 per cent,” he said

He said that the workshop was to cut the supply chain of prescription drugs and to reduce the demand of the same substances.

He added that various crises confronting the state could be attributed to the use of hard drugs.

The commander stated that problems found in some homes, workplaces, schools, physical dangers and troubles with the law are common negative consequences associated with the drugs known as psychotropic substance.