The Lagos State Government yesterday, joined others around the world to advocate for real fact-sharing on the dangers of drug abuse and illicit trafficking as well as evidence-based prevention, treatment and care resources available to citizens, in order to address drug challenges confronting the world.
In commemoration of the Y2022 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the Lagos State Inter-ministerial Drug Abuse Control Committee held an Awareness Walk yesterday around Alausa-Ikeja.
Addressing participants during the walk, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, noted that fact sharing about drug situations amongst citizens, especially youths and young adults, helps address drug abuse and illicit trafficking challenges towards creating a society that is free of drug abuse.
Ogboye, who was represented by the Director of Pharmaceutical Services, who also doubles as the Chairman, Lagos State Inter-ministerial Drug Abuse Control Committee, Pharm. Oyebisi Omolanbe, said that fact sharing on the drug situation is the responsibility of all stakeholders and citizens, adding that it is only when everyone plays their part that the goal of a world free of drug abuse can be achieved.
The Permanent explained that the theme for the year 2022 World Drug Day: “Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crises”, was well thought out to address the drug abuse challenges around the world, particularly the recent health and humanitarian crises plaguing the world.
He noted that persons affected by health or humanitarian crises are vulnerable to drug abuse or substance use disorders, adding that recent reports have revealed that the drug abuse rate soared during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“World Drug report Y2021 revealed that about 275 million people used illicit drugs in Y2020, which is projected to rise by 11% by 2030 globally, and as much as 40% in Africa. This calls for urgent attention”, he said.
Ogboye stressed the need to guide people against the use of drugs as a coping mechanism during health and humanitarian crises, pointing out that the use of drugs is a negative coping mechanism that will worsen the situation.
His words: “We need to let the people know that taking drugs during challenging times will not solve any problem as it would only worsen the situation. The key point here is that we should learn to say no to drugs and say yes to life”.
“I urge everyone to get information on drug abuse and illicit use from verifiable sources, cascade the knowledge to our immediate family and communities and share only real facts. It is by doing so that we can save lives and attain a society that is drug abuse free”, the Permanent Secretary said.
While reiterating the State Government’s commitment to fighting against drug and substance abuse and illicit trafficking, Ogboye noted that the Lagos State Inter-Ministerial Drug Abuse Control Committee and the Pharmaceutical Inspectorate Unit of the Ministry of Health will not relent in carrying out the mandate of a drug abuse free Lagos, declaring that the State Government will continue to prioritise prevention through education and enlightenment as a strategy in the fight against drug abuse.
He applauded members of the Lagos State Inter-Ministerial Drug Abuse Committee – Lagos State Ministries of Health, Information, Education, Transportation, Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Youth & Social Development and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for the successful World Drug Day commemoration.
On his part, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Information and Strategy, Mr. Olusina Thorpe, represented by the Director, Public Affairs, Mr. Olumide Sogunle, noted that the Ministry has been collaborating with the Committee and the Ministry of Health to produce jingles and educate Lagosians on drug abuse and its menace, just as the negative effects of drug use is always highlighted sponsored television programmes.
He said: “We also partner with the Health Ministry to organise motorised campaigns, which is also a way to highlight the dangers of drug abuse”.
Thorpe added that the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is a focused government that remains committed to curbing the menace of drug abuse in Lagos State.
“Our representative on the committee has been actively involved in the committee’s various programmes. Consequently, we shall continue to play our role by increasing public enlightenment campaigns via motorised advocacy in various places including motor parks, schools, youth centres, and market places while partnering with the committee to ensure drugs, substance abuse and Illicit trafficking are eradicated in the State”, he stated.