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World Drug Day: Peter Obi Expresses Concern Over High Rate of Abuse, Attributes it to Leadership Failure

Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party, LP, has decried a report by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime in Nigeria, indicating that 14.4% of citizens aged between 15 and 64 abuse drugs, which he said is significantly higher than the global average of 5.6%.

Obi also blamed leadership failure in the country, high rate of poverty and frustration, peer-group pressure among the youths and high rate of unemployment, amongst others, as factors fuelling drugs and substance abuse among the youths.

The former Anambra State governor in a statement, noted that the attendant health conditions from drug abuse are unimaginable, including an epidemic of mental health cases and incidents of suicidal behaviour among youth.

His statement is coming on the heels of the World International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

While praising the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for their tireless efforts in combating the drug abuse menace in the country, the Labour Party presidential candidate, in a statement via his verified Twitter handle on Monday, said more needs to be done by the government in rescuing the youths from a further slide into drug addiction.

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“On this International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, we are reminded of the lingering menace of drug abuse among our youths and the need to take consistent actions to defeat it.

“A report by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime in Nigeria indicates that 14.4% of Nigerians aged between 15 and 64 years abuse drugs. This is significantly higher than the global average of 5.6%.

“The leadership failure in the country, high rate of poverty and frustration, peer-group pressure among the youths, high rate of unemployment etc, are some of the main factors fuelling drugs and substance abuse among the youths.

“The attendant health conditions that result from drug abuse are unimaginable. They include an epidemic of mental health cases and incidents of suicidal behaviour among youth. While we appreciate the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for their tireless efforts in combating the drug abuse menace in the country, more needs to be done by the government in rescuing the youths – our productive workforce from a further slide into drug addiction.

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“By not stigmatising our people who have fallen into drug addiction, and putting measures in place to prevent more people from getting caught in the deadly web, we will gradually stamp out this societal ill.

“I have always maintained that the New Nigeria will be anchored on our youth population and productivity. We must ensure that our youths are free from all forms of drug abuse and trafficking in illicit substances,” Obi said.

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