The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Oyo State Command, on Monday embarked on a walk against drug abuse to mark the 2023 International Day Against Illicit Drug Abuse and Trafficking.
The State Commander, Mr Olayinka Joe-Fadile, while addressing newsmen during the walk in Ibadan said the campaign was to raise awareness about the negative impact of stigma and discrimination on drug addicts and their families.
Joe-Fadile said the campaign sought to raise awareness on the importance of treating people who use drugs with respect and empathy; offering alternatives to punishment; prioritising prevention; and leading with compassion.
“The campaign aims to combat stigma and discrimination against people who use drugs by promoting language and attitudes that are respectful and non-judgmental.
“Instead of emphasising on arrests, seizures and other kinetic force to stop illicit drug abuse, we should concentrate more on people by stopping stigma and discrimination.
“Stopping stigma and discrimination will let drug victims come out of their shelves to be able to approach the right channels for the help they really need.
“We are to strengthen prevention instead of criminalisation, stigmatisation and discrimination,” Joe-Fadile said.
He said the command had embarked on about 300 sensitisation programmes ranging from television and radio programmes to community-based drug abuse prevention programmes within the year 2023.
He added that the command had held about 150 brief interventions both at its state headquarters and area commands in the 33 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the state.
“Our arrests operations is still ongoing, we have about 1.3 tonnes of illicit drugs seized, close to 200 people arrested so far this year with about 44 prosecutions.
“We have also destroyed about 1.8 hectares of drug farms at Akinyele and Ido LGAs this year.
“We want to urge parents and guardians to be vigilant on their daily activities of their children and wards and always depend on us for necessary support on drugs related issues,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking was decided by the United Nations General Assembly in 1987.
The day is marked on June 26 every year to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving a world free of drug abuse.
NAN also reports that the theme for the year 2023 World Drug Day was: “People First: Stop Stigma and Discrimination, strengthen prevention.”
NAN reports that the year 2023 World Drug Day walk in Ibadan had in attendance teams from the Nigerian Army, Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigeria Customs, Non-Governmental Organisations and National Youths Service Corps among others.