A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Centre for Research and Information on Substance Abuse (CRISA), has warned of a spike in the usage of illicit drugs in the country before the 2023 general elections.
The Programme Manager of CRISA, Mr Nsidibe Francis, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, during the weekend, said as the general elections drew closer cases of drug abuse would rise astronomically.
Mr Francis, who stated that the inference was realised from a research conducted by the centre, explained that the electioneering campaigns would spike the use of illicit drugs.
He, therefore, urged the federal and state governments and other relevant agencies to partner with CRISA to mount sensitisation programmes across the country ahead of the polls.
Mr Nsidibe said, “Our research reveals that substance abuse spikes during electioneering campaigns. Therefore, our centre intends to partner with government at all levels to sensitise the people on the risk of substance abuse.
“The government needs to change its approach to tackling drug-related issues. Rather than criminalise and punish abusers, they should engage our services to sensitise and treat patients.”
The organisation revealed its plan to build a residential treatment centre for people suffering from the side effects of substance abuse.
Earlier, the Executive Director of CRISA, Prof Isidore Obot, said an estimated 14.3 million people (aged 15-64) in the country had used drugs, excluding alcohol and tobacco.