Treat Drug Users As Patients, Not Criminals – Expert

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By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – A Criminologist, Valentine Idaewor, has advised the government to treat drug users as patients not as criminals, unless proven by a court of law as such.
He stated this during a one-day roundtable discussion on the menace of drug abuse and the spike in rape cases in the country.
Idaewor commended Kaduna State Government for taking the lead to go beyond tackling issues related to supply side of drugs alone, to arresting the demand side.
He however said this is only a step forward, noting that drug trafficking is an organized crime because if the demand is arrested, the creative youth’s mind will trigger personal invention, hence government needed to developed and push for programmes on mind building for the youth to engage them gainfully.
“In the Philippines now there is what is called ‘Shabu’ a local stimulant.This is a kind of self-made potent stimulant drug methamphetamine using ice, along with speed and base. It comes as a powder or crystals that are usually snorted, injected or smoked,” he said.
Idaewor, who is also the Chief Servant of Open Leadership, opined that; “If there are programmes on mind building, capacity building and entrepreneurial, some of the youth who has the capacity and creativity will be discovered which at the long run will be beneficial to the nation,” he added.
The event which drew participants from like-minded NGOs/CSOs was organized by News Embassy World Media on Saturday, July 19, 2020 in Kaduna, also appraised this year’s World Drug Free Day celebration, and as well chart a way forward for the group.
Similarly, the Head of Tech & Innovation in Coalition of Associations for Leadership Peace, Empowerment & Development, (CALPED); Elijah Adejoh, harped on the need for government to make use of technology such as Civic Tech in creating mind building programmes for the youth.
“We must learn to positively engaged technology as an important ingredient to educate the youth since majority of them spent more time on the internet against their academic activities.
“Civic tech is technology that enables greater participation in government or otherwise assists government in delivering citizen services and strengthening ties with the public.
“Civic tech is where the public lends its talents, usually voluntarily, to help government do a better job,” he added.
Founder of News Embassy World Media, Ephraim Ebene, commended the NGOs/CSOs for their collaborations in making the world drug free day celebration a success, and urged them not to relent as their support is still needed for next year.
“I believe as a people we won’t relent in our efforts to see that Kaduna State and Nigeria is declared a drug free society,” he vowed.

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