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Marwa seeks collaboration for introduction of drug studies in tertiary institutions

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General Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd) has challenged government, private sector and other stakeholders to work out modalities that will facilitate the introduction of drug addiction studies in the nation’s tertiary institutions.

Marwa said this would go a long way in professionalising drug demand reduction and subsequently contribute significantly towards addressing the challenges of substance abuse in the country.

“To say that the nation is in a crisis of substance abuse is an understatement. Substance abuse has become one of the biggest challenges the country has ever seen in recent times and this problem must be dealt with,” he said.

He stated this yesterday in his opening remarks at the inauguration of the Nigerian Society of Substance Use Prevention and Treatment in Abuja.

Marwa, who was represented by Otumba Lanre Ipinmosho said, ”Unfortunately, the high number of out of school and homeless children, level of poverty and inequality, among others have constituted greater risk to the problems of substance abuse in Nigeria.

“A situation where 14 million children are out of school is disturbing not only for drug control, but also but for socio-economic development of the nation.”

He noted that to effectively address the challenges of substance abuse in the country, education opportunities must be provided to the less privileged to mitigate the risk factors, stressing, ‘’Similarly, effective parenting skills must be promoted while addressing the problems of poverty and inequality among other risk factors.”

Speaking on the theme: “Drug Demand Reduction, Holistic and Integrated Approach for Sustainable National Development, the Way Forward,” Guest Lecturer and Professor of Mental Health Consultant Neuro-Psychiatrist, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Prof. Princewill Stanley said, “It is unfortunate that among every 4 drug users in Nigeria, one is a woman.

“More men (annual prevalence of 21.8 per cent or 10.8 million men) than women (annual prevalence of 7.0 per cent or 3.4 million women) represented past-year drug use in Nigeria.”

He added that the highest levels of any past year drug use was among ages 25-39 years, saying one in five persons (20 percent) who had used drugs in the past year suffer from drug use disorder.

“Cannabis is the most commonly used drug with as estimated 10.8 per cent of the population or 10.6 million people with an average age of initiation us among the general population of 19 years,” he said.

He charged the International Society of Substance Use Professionals (ISSUP) Nigeria not only to supervise, regulate and advise government, but to also be given legislative teeth to bite appropriately, while visible coordination activates should be carried out in the three tiers of government.


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