The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Gombe state command, says it arrested no fewer than 214 suspects for drug-related offences in the state between January and July.
Also, 93.95 kilogrammes of cannabis sativa, 257.498 kilogrammes of psychotropic substance and 0.01 methamphetamine were seized from the suspects within the period under review.
Bello Mumini, Gombe NDLEA deputy commander on narcotics, disclosed this at a programme organised by the Association of Professional Counsellors in Nigeria (APROCON).
Presenting his paper titled “drug abuse situation in Gombe state,” Mr Mumini said the 214 suspects comprised of 200 males and 14 females.
He said out of the 214 arrests, 137 of them had been charged to court for prosecution and that 30 convictions had been secured.
The NDLEA official decried the alarming rate of drug and substance abuse in the state, adding that the pattern and trend cut across gender, age and social status.
He said it was disturbing to know that many women had been found abusing drugs in the state.
He also said it was discouraging that the NDLEA rehabilitation centre in the state was not being utilised properly in spite of the high rate of drug abuse in the state.
“The NDLEA rehabilitation centre is functional but not being utilised as it ought to.
“We have a 24-bed capacity, but the highest we get is seven clients undergoing rehabilitation.
“This is why I am appealing to the state government and other partners to support the centre and sponsor clients towards their effective rehabilitation,” he said
Mr Mumini commended APROCON for embarking on campaign against drug abuse while counselling youths on the danger of using drugs and substances.
On her part, the chairperson of APROCON, Habiba Isah, said drug abuse had become one menace that should worry all stakeholders in view of its negative effects on the youth.
She said her association had launched a campaign against the menace and would be going to some selected tertiary institutions in the state to engage youths and discourage them from using illicit drugs.
Mrs Isah, who is also the head of department, educational foundations, Faculty of Education, Gombe State University (GSU), urged parents to be vigilant and protect their children against drugs.