The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has effectively imprisoned 5,147 people for drug and illicit substance offenses.

According to NDLEA officials, the offenders are among the 31,675 suspects apprehended by the agency in recent years.

While commemorating the 2023 United Nations Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking at the State House Conference Centre, Presidential Villa, Abuja on Monday, Brigadier General Buba Marwa (rtd.) warned citizens against stigmatizing people dealing with drug and illicit substance abuse and addiction.

He stated that such behaviors could impair sufferers’ rehabilitation.

Marwa further noted that instead of being stigmatized, sufferers of drug abuse and addiction require society’s concern and support, emphasizing that they are still human beings with inherent dignity.

According to him, such people demand the understanding of society in order to feel empowered to seek help and access recovery support systems.

The NDLEA chairman stated that by putting people first, stakeholders may recognize that those battling with drug addiction are not defined exclusively by their addiction.

“They are human beings with intrinsic dignity who ought to be understood, empathized with, and supported… Our preconceptions obstruct their access to healthcare, employment, and social services.

“As a result, we must work to remove the barriers that keep people from seeking help and create an environment in which they feel safe, respected, and encouraged to seek the necessary treatments and interventions,” he said.

Marwa emphasized that eliminating stigma and prejudice in attitudes and practices that create additional barriers for individuals seeking help is an important element of this assignment.

“By raising awareness, educating communities, and promoting acceptance, we can challenge these harmful stereotypes and fos­ter a society that embraces individuals on their path to recovery,” he said.

The memorial theme for 2023 is “People First: End Stigma and Discrimination, Strengthen Prevention.”

President Bola Tinubu, represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. George Akume; Country Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Oliver Stolpe; Speaker of the House of Representatives, represented by the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu; Solicitor General of the Federation, Beatrice Jedy-Agba; Repre­sentative of the Chairman of the MTN Foundation, Dennis Okoro; and Former Inspector-General of the Nigerian Police,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *