The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), on Monday appealed to religious institutions to mobilise their members and resources to fight rising cases of drug abuse and trafficking in the society.
Mr Samuel Azinge, the NDLEA Commander in Kaduna State, made the appeal in Kaduna in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He noted that the interventions would have a lot of impact due to the powerful influence the institutions’ have in the society.
“They present unique opportunities where different categories and segment of the society can easily be reached on topical issues like drug abuse prevention.
“As such, they should go beyond formal approach of moral persuasion to full mobilisation of members and resources to wage a successful war against the menace of drug abuse and trafficking, “ he said.
According to Azinge, the religious bodies can also help in the provision of recreational facilities for the young and adults, to keep them away from abuse of prohibited substances.
He added that they could also establish treatment, rehabilitation and vocational centres for secondary and tertiary prevention of drug abuse and trafficking.
The NDLEA commander described drug abuse and trafficking as a serious growing problems in the society, adding that their prevention should be the concern of all.
“Given the enormity of drug problem, collective and collaborative efforts of all and sundry is required to tackle it.
“Simply put, every segment of the society has a role to play for meaningful impact to be felt in the fight against the menace of drug abuse and illicit trafficking in our society, “ he said.
The commander also decried the alarming increase in the number of females involved in drug trafficking and abuse.
He disclosed that 75 per cent drug abusers and traffickers were youths, who ought to have formed the productive class of the society.
Azinge said that the command recently arrested 18 suspected drug abusers and traffickers who were mostly youths.
He blamed the high number of youths involvement in substance abuse to poor parenting, which manifest in lack of bonding, insecure relationships between parents and children, and chaotic home.
According to him, these conditions create room for environment and peer influences on the youth.
“The family is usually the most hit by drug problem in the society, therefore, family and parents can be powerful protective factors in the lives of children and youths.
“Parents should secure a healthy parent-child attachment, help children to acquire skills to make informed decisions and be role models through effective communication skills.
“We should also remember that drugs users are human beings; we should not stigmatise them, “ Azinge advised.
He said that the agency would continue to work hard to ensure the prosecution of all drug traffickers.