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NGO Seeks Investment In Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment Programmes

NGO Seeks Investment In Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment Programmes 

A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Vanguard Against Drug Abuse (VGADA), has urged stakeholders and government at all levels to invest massively in prevention and treatment programs to stem the tide of drug abuse in the country.

News Agency of Nigeria

Dr. Hope Omeiza, Executive Director (VGADA), made a statement on Monday, 26 June 2023, in Abuja on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, observed on June 26 every year.

Omeiza said that with sustained commitment, Nigeria would greatly end the stigma on the population of individuals who abuse drugs.

He said such investment would also help the Nation achieve the multiple targets of Sustainable Development Goals in strengthening the prevention and treatment of drugs and substance abuse.

The executive director, who is the Managing Director of VGADA Detox Centre, a rehabilitation center for drug addicts, said that international day recognizes the severe impact that illicit drugs have on health.

According to him, this year’s theme focuses on putting people first by ending stigma and discrimination and strengthening prevention.

“This means stressing rehabilitation, rather than punishment and incarceration for minor drug offences.

“I commend the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for the good strides in drug demand reduction activities, such as counseling, treatment, care, and rehabilitation.

“The NDLEA also unveiled a toll-free 24/7 call center to give drug users and addicts a channel to seek treatment in its treatment facilities nationwide, which is highly commendable.

“This is to encourage people to quit drug addiction and live a healthier life.

“I urge government, stakeholders and spirited individuals all over the country to help scale up investment in the prevention and treatment of drug abuse so that stigmatisation will be a forgotten story,” he said.

Omeiza lamented that drug users were doubly victimized, first by the harmful effects of the drugs themselves, and second by the stigma and discrimination they face. According to him, VGADA, on her part, has reached millions of youths and individuals across the states with various community outreaches and other programs.

“We have partnered with several ministries, departments, and agencies on specific programmes and areas of interest.

“VGADA Detox centre which is the treatment arm of VGADA, a privately owned drug treatment and rehabilitation is in collaboration with NDLEA and other well-meaning individuals and organisations.

“We have over the past few months taken off the street, a couple of young individuals who are suffering from drug addiction problems and mental disorders at zero cost on beneficiaries.”

“We will continue to ensure that stigmatisation of drug addicts is curbed to ensure that those who needs help, get rescued appropriately.”

NAN reports that this year’s theme is “People first: Stop stigma and discrimination, strengthen prevention.”

This year’s day campaign aims to raise awareness about the importance of treating people who use drugs with respect and empathy; providing evidence-based, voluntary services for all; offering alternatives to punishment; prioritizing prevention; and leading with compassion, said the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The campaign also aims to combat stigma and discrimination against people who use drugs by promoting language and attitudes that are respectful and non-judgmental, said the UNODC.

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