Posted by Garba Ahmed | 3 May 2018 | 1,735 times
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has commended the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC Africa, ‘Africa Eye’ documentary ‘Sweet Sweet Codeine’ that details the widespread prevalence of drug and substance abuse in Nigeria.
A statement, Wednesday, by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, Saraki stated that documentaries like ‘Sweet Sweet Codeine’ are real-life attestations on the need for Nigeria to take its drug abuse problem more seriously.
He said the widespread nature of this substance abuse problem in Nigeria was why the Senate convened the stakeholder Roundtable in Kano in December.
“Even though I have been working on this issue for a few months now, watching the BBC documentary was another eye-opener. Nigerians can now see that if care is not taken, we could be sitting on a catastrophe. We cannot all just fold our arms and expect this issue to fix itself. This is everybody's problem."
Mr. Bukola said as things stand, following the Roundtable on Drug Abuse that held in Kano, the Senate has already developed a draft Legislative framework for the control of narcotics and psychotropic substances and the provision of mental health and substance abuse services in Nigeria.
He noted that, with the Drug Control Bill that the Senate is set to introduce, the mandate of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) and other relevant law enforcement and other regulatory bodies will be strengthened to eradicate the illicit production, and trafficking of controlled substances.
“While the Mental Health Bill will ensure the availability of mental health and substance abuse services in every state, as well as guarantee the enforcement of minimum standards of care for people with mental health disorders.
“This is because we cannot continue like this. We cannot continue to have one psychiatrist for every 1.6 million Nigerians and expect this substance abuse problem to go away. This legislative framework that we are preparing recognises the low number of mental health practitioners in the country, and works to rectify that problem by ensuring that quality mental health and substance abuse services are available for this underserved segment of the population,” he added.
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