THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has expressed concern that about 230 million adults use illicit drugs worldwide while about 27 million people have severe drug problems. According to WHO, most people with drug use disorders do not receive effective treatment and care.
The global health body has thus mapped out treatment and prevention resources in 147 countries in commemoration of the international day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking celebrated by the United Nations (UN) yearly on June 26.
Besides, Kano has arrested the highest number of suspects in drug trafficking with a total number reaching 1281 persons in the past one year according to the state commander of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Mr. Sumaila Ethan.
For his part, the Commandant, NDLEA, Benue State Command, Mrs. Chinyere Obijuru has condemned the escalating trend in the abuse of illicit drug popularly called Ogogoro and cannabis sativa among the youths as well as the old, noting that the habit was responsible for increased loss of lives, cult activities and other crimes in the state.
According to the new UN estimates, globally, about 230 million adults (aged 15 to 64), or five per cent of the adult population, used an illicit drug at least once in 2010, including about 27 million people with serious drug problems.
Communications Officer, WHO, Glenn Thomas noted in a statement yesterday that drug dependence had not been recognized as a health problem in many countries and stigma and discrimination associated with drug dependence had been major barriers to appropriate treatment.
Director, department for mental health and substance abuse, Dr. Shekhar Saxena said: “Drug dependence is a disorder that can be treated effectively but, unfortunately, the large majority of persons who need it do not have access to treatment.
“The data presented in the new system illustrate the huge gaps that still exist in the area of drug dependence treatment. But more and more countries realize the benefits of treatment for drug and alcohol dependence, not only for the individuals themselves, but also for the society and the economy,” he noted.
The report said that the WHO Global Health Observatory Database tagged resources for the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders now provides such data for each country as funding, staff and services and thereby complements the already available information on scope and associated harm of substance use disorders and the country profiles included in the new system cover 88 per cent of the world’s population.
Ethan spoke on the occasion of the international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking in the state.
He said the Kano command had arrested from January to June 358 suspects and seized drug exhibit measuring up to 1.915 kilogrammes vehicles, two vehicles were also apprehended and 275 drug dependent persons were counseled while 93 persons were convicted in the high courts.
Obijuru who spoke yesterday on the occasion of the UN International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drugs Trafficking in Makurdi, further said the trend was also fast turning the state known for the cultivation of food and cash crops into a cannabis zone.
“Most violent crimes such as armed robbery, kidnapping, rape and thuggery are committed under the influence of drugs. Drugs lead to instability, underdevelopment, poverty and debilitating public health,” she maintained.
Speaking on the theme of this year’s celebration “Global Action for Healthy Communities without Drugs,” the state commandant pointed out that the drug problem being faced in the country was multifaceted and required the involvement of all and sundry for effective control.
She restated the determination of the agency in the state to collaborate with relevant ministries and stakeholders to execute drug control programmes.