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“Stop Maltreatment of Drug Addicts” - Stakeholders Speak on Day Against Drug Abuse

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As the world marks the  Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking today, stakeholders are cautioning against stigmatization and discrimination of drug abusers and traffickers.

A lawyer, John Okoroafor, says offering treatment to drug addicts rather than judicial punishments will help to checkmate drug abuse and trafficking.

Dr. Okoroafor tells Nigeria Info that the government and society will need to prioritise a non-judgmental approach in combating drug-related offences.

“To properly check the use of illicit drugs, the government, family, and society have to show great care and support to addicts”, the legal practitioner said.

“There should be a priority placed on love as against reliance on the punishments prescribed by the law. 

“The solution is not necessarily the implementation of punishment for drug abusers or traffickers but it lies in providing care”, he added. 

Also, a pharmacist, Victory Daniel, says offering drug abusers and traffickers opportunities to share their pains will help them to come out of drugs.

Hear him: “This year isn't about the health implications of drug abuse, it’s more centered on prevention. 

“If we can collaborate with healthcare providers and see these persons as people who need help and not look down on or stigmatize them, it will help them come out of drugs. 

“Some of these addicts want to come out but they don’t know how; so we can build support groups and have them talk about their pains, stress, and fears”, she added.

Corroborating this, the Commander of Narcotics at the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Rivers State Command, Ahmed Mamuda, believes stigmatisation and discrimination against victims of drug abuse can prevent them from accessing the help they need. 

According to Mamuda, “Many victims of drug abuse face stigma and discrimination, which can further harm their physical and mental health and prevent them from accessing the help they need”.

The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, otherwise called  World Drug Day, is annually marked on 26 June to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving a world free of drug abuse. 

The theme for this year is “People First: Stop Stigma and Discrimination, Strengthen Prevention”.


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