The International Overdose Awareness Day, celebrated on the thirty-first of August every year, aims at raising awareness about overdose and reducing the stigma of a drug-related death.
ABS Abuja Bureau Chief, Ekwi Ajide reports that the day also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those, who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.
The Project Officer, Drug Demand Reduction, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes, Akanidomo Ibanga frowned that thousands of people from all walks of life die every year from drug overdose, which is preventable.
Dr. Ibanga, who was speaking at a national discourse on the dangers of non-medical use of opioid pharmaceuticals and other substances of abuse at Abuja said the effect of drug abuse and overdose have varying negative effects on the family and community at large.
The national discourse, organized by the federal ministry of Health, dwelt on the dangers, challenges and possible solutions to drug menace in Nigeria and its prevention.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Alhaji Mamman Mahuda, who spoke through the Director, Food and Drugs Services Department, Mr. Olubukola Ajayi, said the essence of the programme was to brainstorm on how best to tackle the day to day dangers of using non-medical pharmaceutical products that pose serious health concerns for the country.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, represented by its Assistant Director, Training, Kolo Jonah, said the agency in the past few months had made about one hundred billion naira worth of drug seizures and called for all hands to be on deck in the war as the peace and security of the country are further endangered by the increasing use of substances.
The National President, International Society of Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Professionals, ISSUP, Nigeria Chapter, Dr. Martin Agwogie, said development of a multidimensional Evidence Based Prevention Strategy, capacity building of advocates and informed knowledge and skills are needed to fight the scourge.
Other speakers, including the Director, Pharmaceutical Services, Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Taiwo Ologunde, Director Narcotics and Controlled Substances, NAFDAC, Dr. Umar Musa among others re-echoed the need for synergy in the fight against illicit drugs.