From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has said 14.3m Nigerians are addicted to illicit drugs, calling on school administrators and parents to be proactive and rise up to the menace.
He made the assertion during a two days National Submit on Menace of Drugs and Substances Abuse among the youths held in Kaduna yesterday.
The Minister who was ably represented by Medical Director Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Professor Abdulkareem Jika Yusuf added that Nigeria is estimated at 14.4% or 14.3 million people aged between 15 and 64 years who used drugs like cannabis, amphetamines, opioids, and cocaine at least once in the reporting 12-month period.
“The burden of drug-attributable diseases account for about 1.5% of the global burden of disease, and around 9 per cent of the People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) in Nigeria reported living with HIV,” he stressed.
Professor Yusuf said, “Parents, especially mothers and school authorities have fundamental roles to play, they must create time and seize opportunities to shape children under their watch, to be the kind of youths and adults they would want them to be.
“The harsh economic realities of our time cannot be an excuse for not accomplishing the divine responsibilities bestowed on us as parents or guidance in the form of School administrators. “he said
Commending Katsina State government, Yusuf revealed that, “ a worthy effort is that of the Government of Katsina State, who recently enacted ‘Responsible Parenting / Almajiri Right Protection Edict’. This is worthy of emulation and it is important for all the states of the federation to adopt and adapt this Edicts. “
“Clearly, all tiers of government are doing quite a lot to stem the menace of drug abuse in our society, but while the society bears the brunt of the consequences of drug use, the family comes off the worst considering the stigma and the negative economic impact inherent with drug use and addiction, “ he added.