The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Rivers State recently announced the seizure of a substantial shipment of codeine-laced cough syrup, valued at approximately ₦4 billion, within the last two weeks. This significant confiscation underscores the high demand and widespread supply of such illicit substances in the region.

Stella Ngwoke, the Commander of the NDLEA at Onne Port, revealed this during an event commemorating the 2024 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking held at her command on Wednesday. She emphasized the pressing need for support from relevant stakeholders to combat the rampant abuse of codeine-laced cough syrup, which is often misused as a psychoactive substance. Ngwoke highlighted that this issue is particularly prevalent among youths aged 15 to 24.

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In a related development, the Federal Government has pledged to bolster the NDLEA’s efforts to fight drug abuse and trafficking across the country. Speaking at the banquet hall in Abuja to mark this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, represented President Bola Tinubu. He assured the public of the government’s commitment to mobilize funds to support the NDLEA in its mission to curb drug abuse and trafficking.

President Tinubu emphasized the importance of collective effort in supporting the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) initiative, which was launched by the NDLEA three years ago. He commended the agency’s ongoing efforts and urged everyone to intensify their actions against drug abuse and trafficking. “I commend and urge everyone to redouble efforts to combat drug abuse and trafficking in the country,” Tinubu stated. He reassured the public of his administration’s unwavering support, noting that the Renewed Hope Agenda places the youth at the heart of its focus. The administration is committed to ensuring that young people are protected from influences that could derail their futures or destroy their potential.

Furthermore, President Tinubu called for a greater emphasis on evidence-based prevention strategies to combat drug abuse in Nigeria. He highlighted the importance of prevention, stating, “Prevention is the most potent weapon to deploy. It not only saves lives but also conserves resources that would otherwise be spent on treatment and rehabilitation.”

The President underscored the necessity of prioritizing evidence-based prevention strategies, allocating adequate resources, and fostering partnerships to maximize impact. “The assignment before us as a country requires that we prioritize evidence-based prevention strategies, allocate adequate resources, and foster partnerships for greater impact,” he concluded.

The NDLEA’s recent seizure and the government’s renewed commitment to supporting anti-drug initiatives mark significant steps towards addressing the complex issue of drug abuse and trafficking in Nigeria. As the country continues to grapple with these challenges, the combined efforts of government agencies, stakeholders, and the public are crucial in making lasting progress.