Human rights group, the Society for the Improvement of the Rural People (SIRP) has frowned at dehumanizing treatments being meted on drug users by law enforcement agencies. The group, however, advised the police and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to stop dehumanizing drug dependents forthwith but see them as people who would need medical attention.
The group stated this at a training organized by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) with support from European Union (UN) tagged “Training on Sensitization on Drugs and Drug Prevention, Treatment and Care (DDPTC)”which was designed to create awareness and knowledge on the issue of drug. According to the programme manager of SIRP, Evelyn Joseph, “we found out that a lot of criminalization, stigmatization and arrests are regularly carried out on users of drugs. “So, the aim of this training is to change the perception of the law enforcement agencies about drug users.
“The practice has always been that when a drug user is found with let’s say cannabis the next thing the authorities do is immediate arrest and detention and most of the detained drug users when they stay in detention longer and finally come out and become worst. “If we start seeing drug usage as health problem, we will realize that someone who is using cannabis and tramadol might be drug dependent and doesn’t have the will power not to use drugs,” she said. She, however, expressed grave concern at the alarming rate people especially young ones take to drugs.
“It is more disturbing that the current practice and stigmatization has not helped in dissuading people from using drug, this is why we must seek for a better way to handle them. “Our young ones are vulnerable and we don’t want them to be ending up their lives in correction centres. “We are greatly concern that as at today in Nigeria, 14.3m people are using drugs.”