Random drug testing for students to curb abuse, says Marwa
The Presidential Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA) said it was working on a proposal that would guide the introduction of random drug testing for employees, students and other persons suspected of using illegal drugs in public or private places.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Chairman of the committee, Brig-Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd), said the policy is not aimed at criminalising individual drug abusers, but to identify persons that might be in need of attention and help from relevant agencies of government to overcome their mental health challenges.
The Federal Ministry of Health recently said about 40 million Nigerians suffer one form of mental disorder or another. The committee, made up of the First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari and wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, among others, was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari last week to advice the federal government and develop policies on how to eliminate the menace of drug abuse across the country.
Marwa decried the dearth of trained personnel and treatment facilities for drug-related mental disorders, saying the country has only 11 rehabilitation centres and less than 200 psychiatrists for the entire population.
He, however, assured that the federal government was doing its best through the inter-ministerial committee against drug abuse and the PACEDA to develop urgent strategies that would address the trend in a sustainable manner.He stressed that the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) initiative would cascade down to the grassroots, so that the people at the community levels would be sensitised and made to assume ownership of the efforts the country is making towards combating the menace.
Marwa called for inputs from the public in the form of memoranda to his committee suggesting better strategies and improvements that could be made in the efforts to tackle drug abuse in Nigeria.