Abdulmumin Edidi, a representative of the Nigerian Youth Parliament for Lagos Central Senatorial District, has advised the federal government to establish counselling units specifically dedicated to addressing drug abuse at primary healthcare centres.
Mr Edidi gave this advice in an interview with journalists on Saturday in Lagos.
He noted that the establishment of such units would assist the federal government in tackling drug abuse at the grassroots level.
According to him, these units will play a vital role in counselling individuals about the harmful effects of drug use on society and enlightening them on how to resist and prevent drug abuse.
He emphasised the importance of focusing on the grassroots level, particularly by educating parents.
Mr Edidi also mentioned that these counselling units would raise awareness and ensure that the message reaches the broader community.
“It is really important for the government to establish and strengthen these units at primary healthcare centres to address this issue properly,” he added.
Mr Edidi recommended rehabilitating drug users instead of sentencing them to prison, as imprisonment often worsens their situation.
He also suggested imposing stiffer penalties on drug traffickers, noting that this action would help in curbing the activities of traffickers.
“It is extremely important that when drug users are caught, they should receive the rehabilitation they need.
“Rehabilitation is necessary in such situations as it can change their orientation and mindset regarding drug use, ultimately helping them become better individuals in society.
Imposing prison sentences on them will only make their situation worse, and there is a high chance they will mix with the wrong crowd, exacerbating their problems.
“Additionally, stiffer penalties, such as life imprisonment, should be imposed on drug traffickers.
“This will serve as a stern warning to others and discourage people from engaging in such harmful, inhumane, and illegal business,” he explained.
Mr Edidi also emphasised the potential role of technology in combating drug abuse, especially by incorporating advancing technologies and providing skill-building opportunities to the younger generation.
He stated that the country could effectively leverage technology as a tool to address drug abuse and recommended implementing a law mandating drug tests for individuals seeking political office as a proactive approach to tackling drug abuse across the country.
A grand finale for a debate among junior and senior secondary schools across Lagos Central Senatorial District will be held on Oct. 31.
The debate is an advocacy programme on drug abuse among students. Its goal is to establish drug-free clubs in schools, which will serve as peer groups and safe spaces to address the issue of drug abuse in schools.