DRUG DEMAND REDUCTION
The drug problem is a global plague, affecting both developed and developing nations. Over the past decades, there have been global efforts in combating the physical, psychological and social-economic maladies associated with illicit drug use and trafficking. Such efforts address the problem through supply suppression and demand reduction activities.
Supply suppression aims at reducing the availability of illicit and controlled drugs through various interdiction activities and legal processes. Here, the drug problem is seen as a criminal activity. Demand reduction programmes, on the other hand, focus on bringing about a decline in the consumption of these substances, as well as effective treatment, aftercare, rehabilitation and social reintegration of drug dependent persons. This aspect of the drug problem is addressed as a health issue and is not to be criminalised.
Successive Government in Nigeria has put in place various Legislations against the abuse and trafficking in narcotic drugs and Psychotropic Substances. At the International scene, Nigeria has been a signatory to numerous bilateral and multilateral treaties as well as United Nations Conventions on Drug Control including the 1988 United Nations Convention against illicit traffic in Narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. In line with this and public outcry by Nigerians of the damaging effects of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking, the Federal Government of Nigeria established the NDLEA via Decree 48 of 1989 (Now CAP N30 LFN 2004).
The NDLEA Act stated specifically that for the effective conduct of the functions of the Agency, there shall be established the following units:
(a) general and assets investigation unit;
(b) prosecution unit; and
(c) counselling unit (Now Drug Demand Reduction Directorate)
The counselling unit shall, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, have responsibility for:
(a) campaigns, seminars and workshops aimed at educating the public on the dangers of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substance thereby stimulating interest in and awareness about drug related problems;
(b) after care rehabilitation, social reintegration and education of addicts;
(c) the promotion of the welfare of convicts.
Part 1 section 3 of the act further explained the functions of drug demand reduction to include among others:
(a) adoption of measures to eradicate illicit cultivation of narcotic plants and to eliminate illicit demand for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances with a view to reducing human suffering and eliminating financial incentives for illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances;
(b) the facilitation of rapid exchange of scientific and technical information and the conduct of research geared towards eradication of illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances;
(c) reinforcing and supplementing the measures provided in the Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
(d) collaborating with government bodies both within and outside Nigeria carrying on functions wholly or in part analogous to those of the Agency.
Goals of Drug Demand Reduction
In Summary, the Goals of Drug Demand Reduction are:
i. To reduce the availability and overall demand for illicit drugs.
ii. To provide factual information to all and sundry (especially those in the high risk group) on the attendant problems of drug abuse and trafficking.
iii. To teach personal skills needed to avoid drug abuse.
iv. To help those abusing drugs to overcome their dependency and reduce the risk they pose to themselves and others, with the ultimate aim of achieving a drug free and acceptable way of life.
v. To ensure proper re-integration and adjustment of treated drug dependent persons into their families and communities.
vi. To build institutional capacity for effective drug data collection and research activities.
vii. To de-emphasize the criminality of drug abuse.
viii. To ensure proper training/development and utilisation of drug demand reduction personnel.
ix. To ensure community mobilisation and participation in the design, formulation, implementation and evaluation of preventive drug abuse education in order to effectively address incidence of drug abuse and trafficking in Nigeria.
x. To increase the level of awareness about treatment and rehabilitation centres and improve the operational capacity of the centres to provide good service.
Drug Demand Reduction Activities
Drug Demand Reduction is a major statutory responsibility of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency. In line with this and to achieve the broad goals of drug demand reduction, three mutual and complementary units discharge the responsibilities. These are:
1. Research and NGO Liaison
2. Drug Abuse Preventive Education
3. Treatment and Rehabilitation
Research and NGO Liaison
Research is a systematic and scientific way of gathering, collating, processing and analyzing information or facts about an event or process in order to understand, predict, modify or control the event or process. A clear understanding of the nature and extent of the drug problem is the most important and first step in dealing with it. Therefore, objective and valid research is a necessary aspect of any meaningful effort at addressing the problem. In line with this, the responsibility of this unit includes:
i. Determining the types of drugs commonly abused, the magnitude, nature and extent of the problem, including the percentage of various segments of the populace in drug problem, as well as demographic characteristics of abusers.
ii. Determining the physical, social and psychological problems associated with the drug abuse problems e.g., mental illness, traffic accidents, family disintegration, etc.
iii. Establishing the level of violence associated with drug abuse problem e.g., arson, assassinations, suicides, rape, armed robbery, secret cults, political hooliganism and thuggery, ethnic/communal clashes, etc.
iv. Assisting in planning so as to enable appropriate utilization of available resources.
v. Evaluating measures put in place to combat the menace of drug abuse.
vi. Regular update of treatment and rehabilitation facilities available.
vii. Determining the Socio-economic and cultural factors for the abuse and dealing in drugs.
The department collaborates with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in drug demand reduction activities in the country with a view to achieving the Agency’s goals. The Agency collaborates with the following NGO’s to achieve the broad goals of drug demand reduction in Nigeria.
|LIST OF NGOS IN DRUG DEMAND REDUCTION
Drug Abuse Preventive Education
Drug abuse preventive education also entails the dissemination of factual information on drug related issues with the aim of imparting knowledge and skills to the individual. In essence, it is aimed that the beneficiary of such education will use the information to promote a drug free lifestyle for himself/herself as well as for those around him or her, children, wards, neighbours, friends, colleagues, co-workers, relatives, etc.
In line with this, elements of drug abuse preventive education has been infused into the relevant subjects in the Basic Education and Senior Secondary School Curricula, Tertiary Institution Curricula as well as the Curriculum of Adult and Non-Formal Education Sector in Nigeria. NDLEA is also collaborating with the Nigeria Police, the Military, the Civil Service and private organisations in its workplace drug abuse preventive programme.
Ways through which drug abuse preventive information are passed on to the public by NDLEA include among others:
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DRUG DEMAND REDUCTION ACTIVITIES
In 1989, the Federal Military Government enacted Decree 48 now Cap N30 Law of the federation establishing the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
The Agency is charged with the dual responsibility of reducing the supply and demand for drugs.
The Federal Government of Nigeria appreciates the fact that supply reduction efforts alone cannot solve the drug problem, hence the emphasis on Demand Reduction. The Drug Reduction Directorate is charge with the responsibility of reducing the demand for illicit drugs.
At the inception of the Agency, the Drug Demand Reduction Directorate was known and referred to as the Counseling Unit. This former name was considered inappropriate as it referred to just an aspect of the functions and statutory responsibility of the Directorate. Consequent upon this, the Units’ name was changed to Drug Demand Reduction Directorate encompassing all the activities of the Directorate. The Drug Demand Reduction Directorate is charged with the responsibility of reducing the demand for illicit drugs.
To achieve the lofty objectives, the Drug Demand Reduction Directorate is divided into three (3) units namely:
1. Drug Abuse Preventive Education
2. Treatment and Rehabilitation
3. Research and NGO Liaison
A.DRUG ABUSE PREVENTIVE EDUCATION
unit the following intervention
1. Drug Abuse Education: This is geared towards providing factual information and learning experiences on drug problems. To this end, NDLEA in conjunction with NERDC has concluded the development of preventive drug education curriculum and infused its content into relevant school subjects at various levels of learning (Primary, Secondary and Tertiary) while the implementation is in progress. The essence of preventive education in schools is to encourage children to recognize the benefits of adopting drug free and healthy life style and to provide them with necessary skills to be able to resist pressures to take drugs.
Besides, the NDLEA has launched the formation of drug free clubs in Secondary School in Nigeria so as to promote alternative activities to drug involvement by students and to encourage the application of life coping skills.
PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS
3. COMMUNITY MOBILIZE TION
This approach aims at involving community groups in drug abuse and trafficking prevention. It involves the use of traditional rulers, community/opinion leaders, youth leaders, religious leaders, professional bodies, voluntary organizations, NGOs etc to campaign against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking. Community resources are mobilized towards prevention and social integration programmes.
B. TREATMENT AND REHABILITATION
It is in line with the statutory responsibility of the Agency that the Treatment and Rehabilitation unit in the Drug Demand Reduction Directorate was created. The
treatment, just like NGOs, CBOs and others.
Drug Rehabilitation is predicated on the need to provide help to identified as drug dependent persons. Drug Dependency is a public health problem that impacts negatively on the soci multiple levels. This could be directly or indirectly and community, family, individual is affected in one way or the other.
There are four major Treatment /rehabilitation methods in use in Nigeria, namely:
Non-Governmental Based Treatment/Rehabilitation
Community Based Treatment/Rehabilitation
Hospital based Treatment/Rehabilitation
Religious/Faith Based Treatment/Rehabilitation
It is important to note that no single method is perfect in handling a drug dependent person, hence, the adoption of electic approach/method.
The Agency’s Treatment/Rehabilitation services are available in the 36 State Commands including FCT, Abuja.
C. RESEARCH AND NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISA TIQN LIAISON
Researches are carried out on the trends, patterns and prevalence of drug abuse problems among different target groups. These researches include school survey, hospital survey, trafficking survey and others. Data is collected from suspected traffickers in NDLEA pre-trial cells and drug abusers on admission in treatment centres across the country. The data collated is analyzed and produced as annual research report on drug abuse and trafficking. These reports are distributed to relevant Governmental, Non-Governmental, International Organizations, Corporate bodies and Individuals involved in drug abuse and trafficking prevention in Nigeria. The reports from the studies serve as base line data in designing appropriate intervention measures for Nigeria. This Unit equally liaises with Non-Governmental Organisations by supervising and monitoring their drug abuse activities and programmes within the country.