The Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd.) has asked all tertiary institutions in Nigeria to make drug integrity test an institutional policy for both new and returning students as part of efforts to tackle the menace of drug abuse among Nigerian youths.
Marwa made the call on Wednesday at the University of Abuja while launching the ‘drug-free university campaign’.
He also called for a partnership between the NDLEA and the university system that will allow the agency to set up outposts on campuses to strengthen the fight against illicit drugs.
Marwa said, “Part of the measures to reduce drug use in the university is the proposed introduction of the Drug Integrity Test for both new and returning students. The Drug Integrity Test is anticipated to metamorphose into an anti-drug policy for all higher institutions of learning in Nigeria.
“It is expected that the University of Abuja, being the “University of National Unity”, will be the first public university in Nigeria to adopt the Drug Integrity Test for fresh and returning students of the institution.
“The Drug Integrity Test is not a punitive measure; rather it is an early detection tool to ascertain an individual’s drug use status for appropriate intervention, and timely treatment and care. This will also entail that the university will develop a drug policy and make such available to each student. Equally important is the need to create an NDLEA outpost on the campus where we’ll deploy our men to assist the authorities, deter drug dealers and users within the university.”
He also said that the truth on the ground indicates that society needs to do more, especially since the National Drug Use and Health Survey of 2018 showed that Nigeria has a peculiar drug use prevalence.
He said that it is worrisome that drug use was common among those aged 25-39 years, while the age of initiation was 22 years for heroin and 19 years for cannabis.
Also speaking at the event, UNIABUJA Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’allah, commended the NDLEA for its efforts and pledged the institution’s commitment to fighting drug abuse in the university and other possible areas.
Also, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, represented by Deputy Director, Guidance and Counseling at the ministry, Okereke Chinwe, said the ministry was doing its best to rid campuses of drugs.