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Imo is capital of drug abuse in Southern Nigeria –NDLEA

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has described Imo State as home to the highest incidents of substance abuse in the entire Southern Nigeria. This was contained in a paper presented by the Commander of Narcotics in the Imo State Command of the agency, Olugu Kalu Chinyere, during the 2021 Pharmacy Week of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Imo State.

The paper, which solicited strategic partnership between pharmacists in Imo State and the NDLEA Command in the state, regretted that drug lords have brought ‘the drug war to our door steps’. Olugu pointed out that a recent report by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) notes that Methamphetamine (Mkpuru mmiri) production in West Africa is of growing concern to the authorities. She added that Nigeria featured prominently in some of the reports with the South-Eastern states as major sources of Methamphetamine production.

The paper read: “To substantiate the reports, NDLEA Imo State Command has identified and countered illegal diversion of Ephedrine Hydrochlo-ride which is a precursor substance under international legislative control. In the last few years too, we have uncovered and neutralized clandestine laboratories, all sited within the state. This shows that the drug war is already at our door steps. “In a similar vein, it is important to note that substance abuse, especially by youths, is higher in Imo State when compared to other Southern states.”

While lamenting the lapses in the supervision and regulation of these drugs and substances, the agency decried the absence of a vital, self-regulating mechanism among stakeholders in the value chain. Responding, the Chairman of the state branch of the PSN, Dr. Stanley Emegwara expressed dismay at the laxity of regulators while noting that there was not much the PSN could do without the approval of the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN).

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