The Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mohammed Buba Marwa has asked tertiary institutions in the country to make drug integrity test an institutional policy for new and returning students as part of efforts to fight the menace of drug abuse among the youths. Marwa made the call at the University of Abuja during the launch of the ‘drug-free university campaign’. He called for a partnership between the NDLEA and the university system to allow the agency to set up outposts on campuses and further strengthen the fight against the scourge.
According to him, the test is anticipated to metamorphose into an anti-drug policy for all higher institutions of learning, adding that it is expected that the University of Abuja, being the “University of National Unity”, will be the first public university to adopt the test.
“The Drug Integrity Test is not a punitive measure; rather it is an early detection tool to ascertain an individual’s drug use status for appropriate intervention, and timely treatment and care. This will also entail that the university will develop a drug policy and make such available to each student. Equally important is the need to create an NDLEA outpost on the campus, where we’ll deploy our men to assist the authorities deter drug dealers and users within the university,” he said.
“It is instructive and worrisome to know that drug use was common among those aged 25-39 years, while the age of initiation was 22 years for heroin and 19 years for cannabis. Note that these age groups comprised of young people who are either in secondary or tertiary institutions or are on the cusp of graduation. The youth population constitutes the country’s workforce and the stronger the youth of a country, the more developed that country would be. One, then, wonders what will become of Nigeria with about 70 per cent of the youth population, if drugs ravage the future of its youths,” he asked.
He noted that in the past, the agency opted to address the drug problem among youths by setting up schools the Drug Free Clubs. The pervasiveness and magnitude of the drug use problem, he said, has necessitated the change in the name of the club from Drug Free Club to War Against Drug Abuse Club, to inject a renewed vibe and vigour into the club and its members.
“ He said the essence of the event was to officially launch the WADA Club in the University of Abuja and to formally inaugurate the War Against Drug Abuse Ambassadors (WADA Ambassadors) among the staff of the institution.”
He charged the students in the spirit of true patriotism to desire and work towards a country devoid of drugs and its attendant consequences.