A Non-Governmental Organisation, Centre for Research and Information on Substance Abuse, has predicted a spike in the abuse and usage of illicit drugs in the country during the electioneering campaigns.
The programme manager of CRISA, Nsidibe Francis, disclosed this during a media roundtable in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state on Saturday.
He said research by the organisation indicated that cases of drug abuse will rise astronomically during the forthcoming electioneering campaigns.
He appealed to the federal and state governments and other relevant agencies to partner with CRISA to mount sensitization programmes across the country ahead of the polls.
He said, “Our research reveals that substance abuse spikes during electioneering campaigns. Our centre intends to partner with governments at all levels to sensitise the people on the risk of substance abuse.
“The government needs to change its approach to tackling drug-related issues. Rather than criminalise and punish abusers, they should engage our services to sensitize and treat patients.”
He revealed that the organisation intends to build a residential treatment centre for the treatment of people suffering from after-effects of substance abuse.
“CRISA is a counseling and research centre for the treatment of persons affected by the abuse of hard drugs and substances.
“We have treated close to 700 people since 2016. We are planning to build a residential treatment centre.
“What we currently have are drop-in centres where patients come and receive treatment and go back,” he said.
Earlier, the executive director of CRISA, Professor Isidore Obot said that an estimated 14.3 million people (aged 15-64 years) in the country had used drugs excluding alcohol and tobacco.