The Country Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Mr Oliver Stolpe, has said about 6 million persons in Nigeria could be living with drug use dependency.
This, he said, was creating a massive public health challenge in the country.
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Stolpe spoke yesterday at a press briefing to begin activities to mark this year’s United Nations (UN) day against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking with the theme, “Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crises.”
He urged the government, candidates for political offices and international partners not to lose sight of the public health crisis caused by drug use in the country.
At the event, the Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (rtd), said a total of 17, 647 drug offenders and 10 barons were arrested over the past 17 months.
He said 2,369 were convicted and jailed while more than 11,000 drug users were counselled and treated within the same period.
He said the agency would soon unveil the NDLEA Call Centre that will be manned by professionals and experts in counselling, psychotherapy, psychology, psychiatry and more to offer help to drug users
“This will also enable those afraid of stigma to be able to seek help without necessarily being seen or identified by anyone,” he said.