Nigeria to improve response to drug abuse epidemic

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Minister for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, said the Federal Government is commitment to scale up its response to drug abuse epidemic and rehabilitation of victims.

Abubakar said this when some members of the Queens College Old Girls Association, Northern chapter, visited her on Thursday in Abuja.

She noted that drug abuse had become a major public health and security challenge in Nigeria, saying it placed a significant threat to the social, health, economic fabric of the family and the productivity of the nation at large.

“The most recent statistics on Drug and Crime Use in Nigeria in February 2019 (report by United Nations Office) indicates that addictiveness to illicit and prescriptive drugs cut across all ethnicities, social groups, gender and age, and rate burden of drug use is on the increase in Nigeria. The high incidence of drug use by increasing numbers of women and children is most worrisome as these results in broken marriages, dysfunctional homes and an increase in social vices. These challenges are pointers to the fact that the drug epidemic is now a national emergency that calls for concerted efforts and collaborative action by all,” the minister said.

She said most women and children affected are afraid to report or give information because they may be ridiculed, stigmatised or isolated.

Abubakar said the ministry was open to work with committed stakeholders who can join in the efforts to stop the negative tide.

Earlier, the President of the Association, Hajiya Fatima Betara, said that drug and substances abuse as well as addiction were serious epidemic particularly in the North.

She said research had shown that women particularly were turning to drugs to cope with social issues and divorce, abuse and depression, among others.

“The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative were derived from the mission of the main association to positively affect our immediate communities and country at large. The chapter recognises that government cannot do it all alone and requires the contribution of its citizenry who are poised and ready to contribute to national development. Being gender focused, we have decided to target women, the girl child and other similar issues,” Betara said.

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