Rising from a symposium on drug and substance abuse, organised by the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPHARM), the First Lady and the wife of the President, Hajia Aisha Buhari has urged Nigerian pharmacists to make concerted efforts in assisting the federal government in tackling the menace of drug and substance abuse in the country.
Mrs Buhari, who was the special guest of honour at the symposium implored pharmacists to further make effort by teaming up with other healthcare practitioners and major stakeholders in addressing the scourge of drug abuse, adding that inter-professional cooperation is needed to win the battle against the menace.
Speaking at the symposium themed: “Sustainable Approach to Eradication of Drug and Substance Abuse in Nigeria”, the wife of the president, who was represented by Chief (Mrs) Moji Tejuosho, disclosed that the magnitude of the challenge, according to the result of the survey released February this year, it was stated that 14.4 percent of Nigerians between the ages of 15 and 64 used one drug or another in 2016.
“According to this survey report, it means, some 14.4 million people who make up the livewire of our workforce as a nation; fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, are affected. We really need to look around and see the devastation caused by drugs. Hundreds of thousands of our children are battling with drug addiction, which makes them burdens to themselves and to the society”, she noted.
The first lady, however told the professionals, including pharmacists, doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals who were in attendance at the symposium held at the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, that the presidency in recognition of the dangers inherent in the menace had inaugurated the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA), which is chaired by Rtd Gen. Buba Marwa, in December, 2018, adding that there is urgent need for a robust, lasting and workable solution to the menace.
Commending the Academy for organising the programme, she assured the members of the presidency promise to partner with them in their quest, in order to get the desired result, while calling on all stakeholders across professional boundaries to step up and partner with NAPHARM, in order to ensure its efforts is fruitful.
Also lauding the Academy for the successful execution of the programme, the executive governor of Lagos State, Gov. Babajide Sanwo -Olu, said the Academy has written its name in gold for blazing the trail by taking the menace headlong.
According to him, the state has been at the forefront of campaigns against the heinous act, adding that the state has successfully launched an agency called Lagos State Kick Against Drug Abuse (LASKADA), to declare war against drug abuse in the state.
Governor Sanwo – Olu, who was represented by the permanent secretary, Ministry of Health, Lagos State, Dr (Mrs) Titi Gonzalez, said the state government has vowed not to fold its arms and allow the unhealthy practice to create a blurry future for the country. “For the effort to yield meaningful result, everybody should be involved, clerics, royal fathers, parents and even youths themselves should be ready to collaborate and work with government to rid our society of the menace,” he said.
Dignitaries at the symposium include: Prof. (Mrs) Moji Adeyeye, director general, NAFDAC; Dr Martins Osayande, keynote speaker; Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, president, NAPHARM; Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, publisher, Pharmanews and vice-president, NAPHARM; Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, president, PSN; Mrs Dere Awosika, executive director, Access Bank; Distinguished Professor of Pharmacy UNILAG, Prof. Cecilia Igwilo; Prof. Kemi Odukoya; Pharm. (Chief) Bunmi Olaopa; Pharm. (Mrs) Victoria Ugwu, national chairperson, ALPs; Mr Femi Shoremekun, managing director, Biofem Groups; Dr Lolu Ojo, chairman, NAPharm Drug and Substance Committee; Prof. Bola Aina, dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, UNILAG, and Pharm. Anthony Oyawole, among many others.