Worried by the increase in cases of drug use and drug abuse in Kaduna and Nigeria as a whole, a non-governmental organisation, Milestones Rehabilitation Foundation with support from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNIDC) is currently facilitating a three-day capacity building training for media practitioners in the State.
Executive Director, Milestones Rehabilitation Foundation, Dr. William Ebiti said, his organisation is executing a UNODC project called “Response to Drug and Related Organized Crime in Nigeria” where media practitioners are deliberately targeted as first set of stakeholders to be trained due to their pivotal role in agenda setting on national issues.
He further said, the essence of the training was to increase awareness about drug abuse and drug dependence from a well informed perspective.
According to him, Nigeria seems to be having more of the highest prevalence of substance use in the West Africa.
“We are starting with the media because there is the need to sensitise them so they can give evidence-based information on drug and substance use that will lead to prevention.
“Milestones Foundation also consulted with Kaduna State to develop drug bill which is one of the best we have around in the country today.
“We are collaborating with the federal neuro psychiatric hospital here in Kaduna to manage those that have become addicted to the substance. We are going to train the youths, religious and traditional leaders and other because prevention intervention is more potent and cheaper.
“We are hopefully, to work with secondary schools in the state as a way of expansion of the campaign,” he added.
In a remark, Director-General, Kaduna State Bureau for Substance Abuse and Treatment, Dr. Joseph Maigari said, the sensitisation campaign would go a long way in assisting the state in its quest to address the issue of substance abuse among its section of the populace.
“This is particularly important on issues of drug abuse where a lot of myths, misconceptions and even harmful beliefs are prevalent,” he added.
Earlier, Commissioner, Ministry of Human Services and Social Development, Kaduna State, Hajiya Hafsat Baba urged participants to take every session seriously.
She said, “as members of the press you are well aware of the recent developments here in Kaduna and reportedly in Katsina State, where so called drug treatment centers were closed down. These places were described in the press as torture houses, because that is in actual fact what they were.
“But the question still remains, those who were in these facilities, where did they come from? Why were they in these centers?
“We find the answers in our beliefs, our misconceptions and our attitudes about issues of drug abuse. The victims in those places were treated the way they were because the message society reinforces is that people who use drugs are bad people and deserve punishment and condemnation.
“So, this workshop is timely as it addresses these misconceptions with you a group that in my opinion is at the forefront of shaping public opinion and attitudes on issues like this and other important issues that spur social development,” she added.
Sent In By O S Olusegun