Abuja, Oct. 11, 2017 (TNE) Although cannabis and cocaine abuse has been a long-term problem among male youths in the northern part of the country, a new dimension has been added.
“Codeine cough syrup and other prescriptive drugs have become as termed, `the new cancer ravaging women and girls in the North’.’’
According to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the North has consistently had the highest number of drug-related arrests in recent years, with 2,205 cases in 2015.
These facts were presented at the Senate on Tuesday with members rising to condemn the phenomenon and calling for urgent steps to arrest the situation, especially in Kano and Jigawa states where consumption of codeine syrup by youths is rife.
Consequently, “The Need to Check the Rising Menace of Pharmaceutical Drug Abuse among Youths Especially in Northern Nigeria” motion was sponsored by Sen. Baba Garbai (APC- Borno), and co-sponsored by 37 other lawmakers.
The lawmaker said that abuse of codeine syrup and other controlled drugs currently constituted the greatest challenge faced by youths and drug officers in Northern Nigeria.
He noted that there were several reports about young girls in tertiary institutions in the country who had taken to an alarming abuse of the Codeine cough syrup.
“This problem is destroying even the mothers in homes as they use same codeine and other drugs as an escape from their abusive relationships and invariably get hooked on them,” Garbai said.
In his contribution, Sen. Ben Bruce (PDP-Bayelsa) said there was the need for the economy to be fixed to create jobs for youths currently engaging in wrong activities.
He called on the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to highlight the consequences of drug abuse to help in tackling the menace.
Similarly, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu (APC-Lagos) called for the establishment of more rehabilitation centres for drug users across the country.
The motion was unanimously adopted and the senate mandated its Joint Committee on Drugs and Narcotics and Health to bring a legislative framework needed to intervene and combat drug abuse in the country.
It also urged the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to embark on vigorous sensitisation campaign on the dangers of drug abuse and set up rehabilitation programme for people with addiction.
In his remarks, Senate President Dr Bukola Saraki, adopted all the resolutions and referred the matter to the joint committee.