Imo stakeholders advocate stricter measures against drug abuse, illicit trafficking

Other drugs seized by the NDLEA operatives during the operations

Stakeholders in Imo State, comprising officials of the Imo State University (IMSU); Imo State Orientation Agency (ISOA); the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), among others, have called on the Federal Government to put preventive and enforcement measures in place to check the menace of drug abuse and illicit trafficking in Nigeria.

They made this call, yesterday, during a one-day seminar to mark this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, with the theme, ‘From Awareness to Action,’ jointly organised by the Psychology Department of IMSU and ISOA, held at the university premises in Owerri.

Speaking, the Vice-Chancellor of university, Prof. Uchefula Chukwumaeze, regretted that the upsurge in narcotics consumption, as well as other forms of drug abuse and illicit trafficking, has devastated many Nigerians, especially, the youths.

He noted that this year’s topic, ‘People First: Stop Stigma And Discrimination, Strengthen Prevention,’ was apt.

Head, Psychology Department of the institution, Dr. Ngozi Sydney-Agbor, in her welcome address, said drug abusers and traffickers should have a rethink, advising: “Every behaviour is learned, including drug abuse, and can be unlearned.” She regretted that, according to sources, 275 million people across the world abused drugs, out of which 36 million suffered disorders in 2021.

In his keynote address, a professor of clinical psychology in the institution, Nkwam Uwaoma, regretted that the menace started mainly in the 1980s in Nigeria as a transit country, and has had some Nigerians progressed from production and consumption to distribution and export of drugs.

Speaking further, he emphasized increase in self-esteem, social skills training, peer pressure resistance training, Parental involvement in school programmes, testing for drugs and alcohol at school or work, correction of beliefs and expectations,

inoculation against mass media messages among others as prevention against substance-use-disorder.

Speaking on the theme: “Eradicating Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Imo State: From Awareness to Action,” the erudite scholar maintained that victims of drug abuse need more of psychological therapy other than punishment, hence he advocated the transfer of drug addiction from criminal code to medical treatment, so that those affected instead of standing trial should receive medical assistance.

Other resources persons and speakers at the event advocated more collaborative efforts amongst stakeholders to effectively drive the campaign against drug abuse and Illicit trafficking in our country.

The Head of Department and the Host, Dr. (Mrs) Ngozi Sydney Agbor in her remark expressed concern with the scale of the scourge amongst young people, while appealing to the students and guests to join hands in the ongoing action to achieve a drug-free Imo State.

Present at the occasion were: 

Her Excellency, Barr. Mrs Chioma Uzodimma, Wife of the governor of Imo State, (ably represented by a director in the Ministry of Women Affairs and Vulnerable persons,)

The Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof Philip Ogbonna, the Dean Faculty of Social Sciences, Prof. Agnes Njoku, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Success Prosper Ohanyanya, Deputy Chief of Staff, Barr. Emeka Sydney Agbor, the Director General, Imo Orientation Agency, Dr. Ethelbert Okere, the representative of the commissioner of Police, Imo State, representative of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Imo State command, members of the staff of the psychology department amongst others.

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