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‘Stop discriminating against drug addicts,’

The Ogun State Government has warned its citizens to desist from discriminating against drug abusers. It also called on relevant stakeholders to deploy people-centered solutions…

The Ogun State Government has warned its citizens to desist from discriminating against drug abusers.

It also called on relevant stakeholders to deploy people-centered solutions as a means to securing a sustainable triumph against drug abuse.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Kayode Oladehinde, made the call in Abeokuta as part of activities to commemorate the 2023 United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking themed: “People First: Stop Stigma and Discrimination, Strengthen”.

Oladehinde described drug abuse as a complex issue affecting millions of people worldwide across different age grades, emphasising the need for adequate care and support for drug abusers.

He noted that the challenge of stigma associated with abusers was just as troubling as the abuse itself, saying those who abused drugs might not be willing to seek help as a result discrimination.

He said, “Many people who abuse drugs suffer from drug use disorder such as disruption to normal brain function, change in attitude and personality, truancy, job loss and prostitution.

“Sometimes they become addicted to drugs because of their innocence, which though is not an excuse, must be acknowledged.

 “Unfortunately, drug abusers face stigma and discrimination, which can further harm their physical, emotional and mental health, thereby preventing them from accessing the help they need from individuals, family, friends, government and private institutions. I believe we must deal with this aspect of drug abuse just as we long to eliminate the problem.”

While stating the state government’s commitment towards the elimination of the scourge, the permanent secretary noted that stakeholders should raise awareness on the importance of treating people who use drugs with respect and empathy.

He assured that his ministry would continue to collaborate with relevant agencies at the federal and state levels to ensure that stigma and discrimination against drug abusers were discouraged, adding that the effort would encourage them to voluntarily seek help.

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