War against drug abuse and illicit trafficking, has taken another dimension, following a one-day workshop organized by the Rivers State command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency NDLEA, in collaboration with the Nigerian Association of Potent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers NAPPMED and War Against Drug Abuse WADA.
The 2023 NDLEA and NAPPMED workshop titled: ‘The role of NDLEA/NAPPMED in curbing the menace of drug abuse and illicit trafficking’ was held on Thursday, at the Eneka Civic Centre, in the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.
NDLEA/NAPPMED workshop, aimed at educating medicine dealers on the need to join in the fight against drug abuse and trafficking, to achieve a drug free society was duly attended by over 300 medicine dealers.
The workshop featured an interactive question and answer session, lectures, presentation of NDLEA Today Magazine to NAPPMED Chairman, among others.
In his keynote address, the NDLEA state commander, Ahmed Mamuda, described drug abuse and illicit trafficking as issues that have globally affected the entire human race, which should not be treated with levity considering the enormity of the problems associated with the hydra-headed scourge.
Mamuda explained that drugs can cause very grave and adverse effects on an individual’s life, both physically and mentally and stressed on the need to tackle it.
He said, “War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) is an innovative concept of the National consciousness that was formally launched by the immediate past President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, on 22nd of June, 2021. The primary aim is to mobilize, educate and inform the children, youths and adults about health benefits of a drug-free lifestyle among our teeming population in our nation.
“The Rivers State command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency deems it fit today, to identify with NAPPMED, media and other dignitaries present as significant stakeholders in this all-important war against drug abuse (WADA).
The NDLEA commander vehemently condemned the involvement of some members of the patent and proprietary medicine dealers in the circulation and distribution of known controlled drugs such as codeine, tramadol, ephedrine, Rohypnool, talen, and other drugs with destructive effects.
While commending members who are drug free, serving as role models and agents of change in the society, Mamuda enjoined all to continue to identify with the current national consciousness of fighting and conquering the menace of illicit substance use and abuse in the society.
He encouraged members on the need to be law abiding and desist from unethical dispensing of controlled drugs to members of the public, assuring that, “the NDLEA in Rivers State will not relent on its efforts in ensuring that citizens embark on the culture of living a constructive life which will not be compromised on the altar of drug trafficking. Our target is to achieve a drug free Rivers State through aggressive pursuance of our drug control programs.”
Also speaking, NAPPMED commander, Rivers State, Mr. Andy Edimo U. defined illegal drugs as, “addictive and outlawed substances. However, in this context, illegal drugs extends to cover drugs not permitted to be dispense over-the-counter by the PPMVS.”
Edimo hinted that, “curbing the menace of dispensing illegal drugs within the society must be all inclusive, involving all the stakeholder which includes the PPMVS, NAPPMED, NDLEA and the society. Educating the practitioners on the danger of dispensing illegal drugs with the society. Providing information that increase patient awareness and understanding of drug abuse. Diagrammatic drug information flyers could be displayed in local drugs outlet.
“The association should create an internal monitoring unit that monitors members shops from time to time, reporting illegal drugs outlet to the enforcement agency, NDLEA.”
On the legal implications of dealing in illegal drugs, the Chief Superintendent of Narcotics, Barr. Ifugu Toboulayefa Tobou explained that it was a serious criminal offense to engage in drug dealing.
Stating some of the common illegal drug offences, Toboulayefa, who is also the Assistant State Commander, Prosecution and Legal Services, NDLEA Rivers, said those who import, manufacture, produce, process, plant and grow illegal drugs will serve life imprisonment.
While explaining other illegal drug offences, he added that, “addressing drug dealing requires a multifaceted approach involving law enforcement efforts, prevention programs, treatment options, community engagement and socioeconomic interventions. By tackling the root causes of drug dealing and providing support to affected individuals and communities, it is possible to mitigate its harmful effects.”
In an exclusive interview with TNN, the Assistant State Commander, Drug Demand Reduction Unit, NDLEA, Stella-Maris Amede spoke on the consequences of substance abuse, and called for an intensive awareness campaign in the country in order to bring to the knowledge of the people, the full consequences and dangers of drug abuse and trafficking.
The participants who were trailed by the workshop expressed appreciation to NDLEA and NAPPMED for organizing the program which they described as timely.
One of the participants, Mrs. Felicia Solomon from Elelenwo zone, NAPPMED said, “the seminar was indeed a very great one. Today I have been able to see that ignorant to the law is not an excuse, and also, all the things that we are not supposed to dispense has been made known to us, and we’ve equally seen that most of those drugs that we are not suppose to sell are actually dangerous to the entire members of the society, so today as I am going, I am going with this full knowledge to educate everyone around me the reason why such drugs should not used.
“The organizers did well, they really did well because the atmosphere was very okay, it was quite conducive and also the organizers made it very simple, they used simple language, simple terms that made the audience understand what they were saying.”