Anti-Narcotics Laws Need To Be Reinforced – Expert

Mental health advocate Fatai Badru says that in order to fortify anti-narcotics laws and achieve notable strides in combating drug misuse and trafficking by 2024, Nigeria must engage in integrated inter-agency collaborations.

Badru, a professor of Psychiatric Social Work at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, made the call in an interview on Thursday in Lagos where he said the increasing rate of drug trafficking/abuse and its corresponding devastating effects made it pertinent for the enforcement agencies, including governments, families, community, policy-makers and organisations, to work together to address the issue.

He called for more security, monitoring and tightening of the country’s borders where some of these drugs were being exported and imported into the country.

Badru urged the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to ensure adequate control of demand and supply of drugs in the country.

He added that the Nigeria Customs Service, police, immigration and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) must do their jobs.

He emphasised the need for a multi-sectoral and holistic approach to tackling the menace of drug trafficking in the country to record success, stressing that the fight against drug trafficking/abuse should not be left to the NDLEA alone.

He said that if there is no supply of drugs, there will be no demand for them. He added that terminating the production of drugs was key in the efforts to prevent drug abuse and trafficking.

He, therefore, stressed the need for the government to put in place policies that would drive people away from getting involved in drugs.

“The laws regarding drug abuse in the country should be reviewed, so as to have offenders duly punished. It will serve as a deterrent to others. All the enforcement agencies, including the government, should collaborate in efforts to curb drug trafficking or drug abuse because it requires a multi-dimensional approach.

“In doing that, there is a need for a conducive environment such that there will be no compromise of any sort from any quarter or agency,” he said.

On the role of the community, Badru urged the communities to always report cases of drug abuse to the appropriate authorities for prompt actions.

He said the communities should always be on the lookout for happenings in their environment.

“The caregivers, relatives, friends, communities and families are all crucial to the management, sustainability and rehabilitation of a person involved in drugs. The communities should not hide people who get involved in drugs; if they notice outlets where they sell or deal with these hard drugs, let them report to the appropriate authorities for prompt action and necessary prosecutions.

“The efforts of all stakeholders, including parents, families and relations, are all needed if any remarkable achievement is to be recorded in the fight against drug trafficking, abuse in Nigeria,” Badru said.

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