Tunji Bosun, Abeokuta
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Committee 2018 survey has ranked Ogun State as the worst in the prevalence of drug abuse in the South West.
The survey revealed that the South West region, which comprises Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Oyo, Lagos and Ekiti states, had no fewer than 4,382,000 drug addicts.
The Chairman, Ogun State Drug Control/Committee, Olufemi Fafiolu, disclosed this during the annual Colloquium on Medicine/Substance Abuse in Nigeria held in Abeokuta.
The colloquium was organised by Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, Ogun State branch.
Fafiolu who quoted the 2018 survey reportedly obtained from the UNODCC, said South West had 22.4 per cent of drug addicts in Nigeria.
He said, “According to the UNODCC Survey 2018, the prevalence of drug abuse in the South West region is 22.4 per cent with the number of drug addict at 4,382,000.
“The prevalence in Ogun State out of this 22.4 per cent is 17 per cent. This figure is very alarming and needs urgent attention.”
Speaking on the impact of drug addiction in the country, Fafiolu claimed that almost 78 per cent of crimes in the country were committed under the influence of drugs.
He said, “Drug abuse poses security threat to the citizens. It is the reason for kidnapping, rape, armed robbery, gangsterism, cultism and prostitution.
“One out of seven persons has used drugs in year 2017 with the age range between 15 and 64 years.
“More worrisome is the involvement of women in drug and substance abuse.”
He lamented that despite the high rate in the state, there was only one drug abuse therapy education and rehabilitation centre at the Neuro-psychiatric hospital in Abeokuta.
He urged government to empower security agencies, especially the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, with operational vehicle as well as the OSDCC with increased budgetary allocation.
“The government also needs to strengthen our porous borders and to establish community-based rehabilitation centres.
“Teachers need to be on top of their game to prevent drug abuse among the student populace.
“Parents are not left out as the saying goes ‘charity begins at home,” he said.