The Chairman National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Mohammed Buba Marwa has called on all tertiary institutions in Nigeria to make drug integrity test an institutional policy for both new and returning students as part of efforts to fight the menace of drug abuse among Nigerian youths.
He made the call at the University of Abuja while launching a drug-free university campaign.
The Chairman also called for partnership between the NDLEA and the university system that would allow the agency to set up outposts on campuses to further strengthen the authorities in fighting the scourge.
According to him, “Part of the measures to reduce drug use in the university is the proposed introduction of the Drug Integrity Test for both new and returning students.
The Drug Integrity Test is anticipated to metamorphose into an anti-drug policy for all higher institutions of learning in Nigeria.
“It is expected that the University of Abuja, being the University of National Unity, will be the first public university in Nigeria to adopt the Drug Integrity Test for fresh and returning students of the institution.
“The Drug Integrity Test is not a punitive measure; rather it is an early detection tool to ascertain an individual’s drug use status for appropriate intervention, and timely treatment and care.
While commending the management of the University of Abuja for collaborating with NDLEA to organise the launch he said that the menace of drug use in the country was of worrisome dimension, especially among the youths.
“The truth on the ground indicates that our society needs to do more.
The National Drug Use and Health Survey of 2018 showed that Nigeria has a peculiar drug use prevalence.
And it is instructive and worrisome to ow that drug use was common among those aged 25-39 years, while the age of initiation was 22 years for heroin and 19 years for cannabis.
“To aggressively reverse the trend, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, GCFR, launched the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) campaign on 26th June 2021 to commemorate the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking.
The goal of WADA is to mobilize all Nigerians, especially the youth population, for active participation in the process of ridding our society of the drug menace.
The NDLEA boss explained that, since the launch of WADA, the Agency has initiated evidence-based prevention activities, which include focused advocacy, drug awareness campaign, sensitization, treatment and care of People Who Use Drugs (PWUD).
“Some years ago, the Agency opted to address the drug problem among youths by setting up in schools the Drug-Free Clubs.
The pervasiveness and magnitude of the drug use problem have necessitated the change in the name of the club from Drug-Free Club to War Against Drug Abuse Club―WADA Club for short―to inject a renewed vibe and vigour into the club and its members.
He said the essence of the event was to officially launch the WADA Club in the University of Abuja and to formally inaugurate the War Against Drug Abuse Ambassadors (WADA Ambassadors) among the staff of the institution.
He charged the students in the spirit of true patriotism to desire and work towards a country devoid of drugs and its attendant consequences.
Others who spoke at the ceremony included representatives of the Minister of Education, National Universities Commission, and the Vice-Chancellor, Prof.
They commended the collaboration between NDLEA and the university as part of renewed efforts to stamp out the problem of drug abuse in the country.
“Make drug test an institutional policy for Students” – NDLEA