The Senate President's Comments on the Rising Cases of Drug Abuse in Nigeria

Date: 2017-10-10

On September 29th, I expressed my concern on the rising drug menace in the country. I emphasized that it is time for all of us to recognize this problem and address it in a sensible manner.

Considering the socio-economic state of the country, this drug abuse issue that is often swept under the carpet must be brought to the forefront of our national dialogue before it is too late.

While drugs like cannabis and cocaine have affected many youths across the country, these days, codeine cough syrup and other prescription drugs have become "the new cancer" that is ravaging women and girls - specifically in the Northern part of the country.

Today at the Senate, we initiated action on this drug abuse issue by passing a Resolution on the need to check the rising menace of pharmaceutical drug abuse among youths.

Our resolution has called on the Federal Government to partner with stakeholders, traditional rulers, pharmacist councils and NGOs to create a framework for fighting prescription drug abuse. We have also mandated the Ministry of Health to provide drug rehabilitation centers for drug abuse victims that seek help.

Additionally, the Senate Motion urged NAFDAC to embark on a vigorous sensitization campaign on the dangers of drug abuse and steps on achieving a successful rehabilitation for people with the addiction.

Finally, we have mandated our Committees on Drugs & Narcotics and Health to come up with a legislative framework to deal with the abuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs and develop a Bill that adequately deals with the problem, and report back to the Senate in the next four weeks.

As we move forward, knowing that there are many experts out there, we hope to continue to receive feedback from all relevant individuals and groups on how best to continue to tackle this issue.

- Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki (CON), President of the Senate

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