Mrs Althea Nwaeleh, Executive Director, Advocacy for Veritas, a Drug Addiction Treatment Initiative, has recommended a special strategy to tackle the global problem of drug addiction in Nigeria.
Nwaeleh, a Canada-trained psychiatrist serving as an addiction counselor and Consultant in Nigeria, said this in Aba on Monday while fielding questions from the reporters.
Newsmen reports that Advocacy for Veritas is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) which is involved in the treatment of drug addicts to enable them recover and live drug-free lives.
She underscored the need for Nigeria to train addiction counselors to educate citizens on the dangers of drug abuse in order to curtail it. According to her, training of special addiction counselors would directly impact on the addicts and result in recovered addicts who by telling their recovery story, would win hearts to drug-free living.
Nwaeleh said that a trained manpower spread across the nation would compliment rehabilitation facilities and enhance the handling of cases of drug addiction. She said that education was at the root of the war against drug and substance abuse hence such education needs to be handled in a strategic, planned manner by addiction counselors.
“The first thing we need to do is to educate the public. Education is very important. It is to inform. You see something like fuel is innocent. If somebody inhales fuel or gum that is used to fix tyres, you can get high. Some persons do misuse that.
So are we going to ban every single substance out there? It is not possible. So this is about educating the public about the dangers of using and misusing these things. And so that is where we should start the drug addiction reduction plan,” she said.
Nwaeleh said that drug abusers required handling with compassion if they must be recovered, adding that early detection of drug addiction tendencies would help in recovery of patients.
She said that parents, society and law enforcement agencies have roles to play in detecting when a person had begun the trail down the dark path of drug addiction and to recover them.