The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Abdallah, retd., has emphasised that the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened abuse of drugs.
Mr Abdullah, in a statement to commemorate the 2020 International Day against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Abuja, said as drugs of choice became scarce during the lockdown, increased experimentation with newer concoctions only aggravated the problem.
According to him, chances of newer forms of addiction hither unknown may arise.
Mr Abdallah while acknowledging that drug trafficking did not abate during the lockdown, said, there might be an increase in withdrawal syndrome for users due to a cut in the supply chain as a result of the lockdown.
“They continued with their nefarious trade notwithstanding COVID-19,” he said.
The NDLEA boss noted that ignorance has been found to be a major impediment militating against the fight against drug abuse.
He said the absence of information, as well as aggravated misinformation and outright disinformation, had played out varying degrees in drug abuse.
He said: “This year’s commemoration is to encourage Nigerians to get involved in the campaign against the illicit consumption and used of drugs not administered by clinicians.”
Mr Abdallah further stated that “310.1 tonnes of Cannabis were seized and destroyed publicly in 2019.
“All together for that year, 612, 903.484 kilogrammes of drugs were seized. The arrest figures stand at 9,444 of drug-related offenders.
“A total of 1,195 convictions were recorded and 795 drug-dependent persons were counselled.”