FG seeks concerted efforts in fight against drug abuse

The Federal Government has called on relevant stakeholders to make concerted efforts towards ending drug abuse among youth in the country to prepare them for employability, entrepreneurship, and becoming future leaders.

The Minister of State in the Ministry of Youth Development, Mr Ayodele Olawande, made the call during a working visit to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Abuja.

Olawande said that the ministry was planning to establish an institution that would be known as the Nigerian Youth Academy (NIYA).

He said in the institutions, youths would be taken through some training to engage them in meaningful ventures in order to avoid the temptation of drug abuse and crime.

The minister said that lack of engagement, unemployment, and the skill gap have led to an increase in the consumption and abuse of drugs among the youth.

“The youths are more concerned with following trends. It is now time for the youth to stop following unproductive trends and start thinking and working,” he said.

Olawande said that the ministry planned to introduce a door-to-door campaign, which would be spearheaded by him, to engage the youth in all 774 Local Government Areas of the federation.

“We will use the corp members as a force to engage society at large, especially secondary school students, to curb drug abuse, corruption, and cybercrime,” he said.

According to him, it is time that society stopped neglecting the youth in the informal sector, as they are flexible and open to activities that can cause disruption and commotion in society.

The minister called on the UN to collaborate with the government to establish the Nigerian Youth Academy, ensuring that the youths were fully engaged.

Earlier, Mr Oliver Stolp, Country Representative of UNODC, expressed his appreciation to the minister and his team for taking the time to visit him.

Stolp said that the UN had numerous intervention programmes on youth engagement, drug abuse, cybercrime, and corruption.

He called for the support of the government in these interventions.

NAN reports that theUNODC World Drug Report 2023 warns of converging crises as illicit drug markets continue to expand.

The data put the global estimate of people who inject drugs in 2021 at 13.2 million, 18 per cent higher than previously estimated.

Globally, over 296 million people used drugs in 2021, an increase of 23 per cent over the previous decade.

The number of people who suffer from drug use disorders, meanwhile, has skyrocketed to 39.5 million, a 45 per cent increase over the past 10 years.

The Report features a special chapter on drug trafficking and crimes that affect the environment in the Amazon Basin, as well as sections on clinical trials involving psychedelics and medical use of cannabis; drug use in humanitarian settings; innovations in drug treatment and other services; and drugs and conflict.

The World Drug Report 2023 also highlights how social and economic inequalities drive—and are driven by—drug challenges, the environmental devastation and human rights abuses caused by illicit drug economies, and the rising dominance of synthetic drugs.

The demand for treating drug-related disorders remains largely unmet, according to the report. Only one in five people suffering from drug-related disorders were in treatment for drug use in 2021, with widening disparities in access to treatment across regions.

The UN says youth populations are the most vulnerable to using drugs and are also more severely affected by substance use disorder in several regions.

In Africa, it said, 70 per cent of people in treatment are under the age of 35. (NAN)

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