Due to the increase in drug abuse among youths in the country, the senate has developed two draft bills for legislation to fight against drug abuse across the country.
The Senate President, Senator, Dr Bukola Saraki made this known in a statement noting that the Drug Control Bill seeks to clarify the mandate and strengthen the capacity of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to eradicate the illicit production, and trafficking of controlled substances.
“It also seeks to establish a central mechanism to facilitate collaboration among law enforcement, regulatory and public health authorities in line with the National Drug Control Policy. “The Bill further focuses on proactive law enforcement and regulatory measures towards the eradication of the illicit importation, production and trafficking of controlled substances.”
The statement further said the bill sought to criminalise the diversion, distribution or otherwise dispensing of controlled substances without a prescription or license. On mental health bill, the statement noted that, in recognition of the fact that psychosocial issues are the key drivers for the abuse of psychoactive substance, the bill was crafted to ensure that standard facilities were available in every state to provide mental health and substance abuse services.
“We must make a commitment that we are ready to do away with these problems. We should not be discouraged in the fight, as political leaders, we must have political will in the fight”. The proposed law guarantees the protection of the rights of people with mental illness and stipulates that mental health practitioners and facilities no longer engage in practices that are harmful to people with mental health and substance use disorders. He said, “If we continue to be a society that ignores laws and do as we wish, we are not far from being a failed state”. “But in the Senate, we are firm in ensuring that what is right is done to protect the nation. We want to see here before we finish the two-day roundtable in Kano that some pharmacies are closed down for violating the rules. Then we will know we are serious about it”,the statement stated. Prior to this development, the Senate President had convened a round table recently on the rising drug abuse in the country. The event which held in Kano was well attended and there Saraki promised that the National Assembly would take decisive action against drug abuse in Nigeria as part of moves to finally tackle the menace.