Nigeria has about 14 million drug addicts – Minister

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The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has raised an alarm over increasing number of drug addiction in the country.

He explained that school administrators and parents must be proactive in order to curb the menace.

Speaking at a 2-day National Summit on Menace of Drugs and Substances Abuse among the youth, the minister, who was represented by the Medical Director Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Kaduna, Professor Abdulkareem Jika Yusuf said Nigeria is estimated to have about 14.4per cent or 14.3 million people aged between 15 and 64 years who used drugs like cannabis, amphetamines, opioids, and cocaine at least once in the reporting 12-month period.

The minister explained, “The burden of drug-attributable diseases account for about 1.5 per cent of the global burden of disease, and around 9 per cent of the People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) in Nigeria reported living with HIV.

“Parents, especially mothers and school authorities have fundamental roles to play, they must create time and seize opportunities to shape children under their watch, to be the kind of youths and adults they would want them to be.

“The harsh economic realities of our time cannot be an excuse for not accomplishing the divine responsibilities bestowed on us as parents or guidance in the form of school administrators.”

Commending Katsina Government for enacting an edict on responsible parenting/almajiri right protection edict, the minister revealed, “a worthy effort is that of the government of Katsina state, who recently enacted the edict, ‘Responsible Parenting/ Almajiri Right Protection Edict’. This is worthy of
emulation and it is important for all the states of the Federation to adopt and adapt these edicts.

“Clearly, all tiers of government are doing quite a lot to stem the menace of drug abuse in our society, but while the society bears the brunt of the consequences of drug use, the family comes off the worst, considering the stigma and the negative economic impact inherent with drug use and addiction.”

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