Retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa
HealthHighlight

Illicit drugs fuel crimes, criminalities in Nigeria – Marwa

Marwa further noted that successfully treating more young people for drug addiction reduces the demand for illegal substances among this demographic, thereby curtailing the illicit drug trade.

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Retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has said that the misuse of illicit drugs is a significant contributor to criminal behaviors and criminalities in the country.

He spoke on Friday at the Vanguard Against Drug Abuse detox centre’s National Youth Conference in Abuja.

The theme of the conference is “The Youths, Drugs, Mental Health, and Nigeria’s Future.”

Marwa warned that young people who engage in drug abuse are more likely to develop harmful behaviors and attitudes, such as anti-social conduct, which can have negative consequences for their well-being and society as a whole.

He attributed the country’s current insecurity challenges, in part, to the consequences of drug abuse, suggesting that the prevalence of drug-related issues has significantly contributed to the severity of the security problems facing the nation.

He said: “I am one of the believers in the theory of crime that views the abuse and trafficking of illicit substances as enablers of crime and criminality.

“And in Nigeria of today, we have empirical and circumstantial evidence to back this theory.

“For example, the South East, known for relative calm, has, in the past three years, been caught in a vortex of violence.

“The factors responsible for the cycle of violence being perpetrated by young people are many and varied but also do not preclude drug abuse, especially methamphetamine, popularly known as Mmkpuru Mmiri.

“I have heard the arguments time and again that some young people get creative or inspiration when they smoke cannabis.

“That is balderdash. Did they also tell you that many also run mad or lose their sense of reasoning after smoking cannabis?.”

He said prevention remains the most effective strategy for combating drug abuse in any society.

Marwa further noted that successfully treating more young people for drug addiction reduces the demand for illegal substances among this demographic, thereby curtailing the illicit drug trade.

He said: “For the young people listening to me this morning, my appeal to you is simple. Youth is an important period in the human life cycle, a make or mar period.

“The loss in economic terms is often unquantifiable because youths, who are supposed to be the engine room of the economy and the driver of a country’s GDP, become less productive.

“And also more of a burden when the drug culture thrives in society. I am sure some of you are familiar with the dire warning regarding the use of tobacco that “smokers are liable to die young.”

“That warning applies also to the abuse of an illicit substance or any misuse of pharmaceutical drugs. Those who abuse drugs or illicit substances are likely to die young and are likely to live a health-impaired life in the later years of their lives.

“But above all, be reminded that the consequence is not limited to only you, the abuser of the illicit drug, but your family will also be affected, as well as your community and country.”

Dr. Hope Omeiza, convener and Managing Director of the GVADA detox centre, earlier stated that the conference aims to raise awareness and rally all stakeholders to intensify their efforts in the fight against drug abuse.

Additionally, he said the event seeks to provide opportunities for the treatment and rehabilitation of individuals affected by drug abuse, as well as prevention strategies to protect others from falling victim to drug addiction.

This, he said, included those who might be intending to go into drug abuse.

Omeiza said: The call for action is calling on all stakeholders, which is why here represented are SSA to the President, SA to the President, heads of government agencies, MDAs, here to put their thoughts together.

“They need to make a declaration for their support followed up with necessary action for implementation of all that will be said here today. As youths, let us stay away from drugs; drug abuse is not steeze.

“There are alternatives to maintaining confidence, to getting pleasures, to increasing pleasures, and to not be in pain—not a drug. It’s not worth the risk.”

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