The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Abia, has decried the high rate of drug abuse in the state.
The Commander, NDLEA) in Abia, Mr Dogo Yusuf, said this on Wednesday while commemorating the 2023 International Day Against Substance Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking.
Yusuf said this manifested in a long line of victims awaiting admission at NDLEA’S rehabilitation centre, Aba.
The event, marked globally, has as its theme: “People First: Stop Stigma and Discrimination, Strengthen Prevention”.
He lamented that NDLEA’S rehabilitation center in Aba could not admit all the victims who needed rehabilitation because of the huge number of victims in the state.
“This is because space is not enough, which is a proof that drug abuse is very high in Abia State.
“That is the more reason Abia residents need to abhor stigmatization and help those who are already in trouble to trace their path back to normal life,” he said.
He said that Abia people needed to support the agency in its effort to end stigmatisation and discrimination against victims of drug abuse.
According to him, stigmatisation against drug abuse victims had over the years prevented such persons from seeking help.
He said drug abuse victims were humans with inherent dignity, deserving understanding, empathy and support needed to make them feel safe, respected and encouraged to access treatment.
The Commander, however, noted that his message for the event was the same with that of the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa.
Yusuf urged the people of Abia to stand firm and break down the stigmatization barriers that prevented victims from seeking help.
He said that fighting prejudices and stereotypes hindering victims’ access to healthcare and promoting acceptance, fosters a society that embraces victims on their path to recovery.
He said that the Abia Command had been very successful in prosecution and convicting drug criminals, in spite of serious logistic challenges faced by the agency.
Yusuf solicited assistance in the areas of logistics and vehicle donation, adding that fighting drug in a community needed sound vehicles to reach affected areas.