Drug addicts are victims, not criminals, – AHAPN chair

Chairman, Abuja branch of the Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN), Hafsat Avosuahi Ismaila, weekend, said people who abuse drugs and other substances are actually victims who deserve sympathy.

She said they should not be treated as criminals by the society. She stated this during the association’s 4th Scientific Week and Commemoration of this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Abuja.

“People that are abusing drugs are actually victims. They are not criminals. If we keep on stigmatising them, it can hamper their zeal to seek help. These people are helpless. We have to empathise with them and encourage them to leave their drug habits,” Ismaila said.

She also said that the association is taking its sensitisation campaign on drug abuse to schools in the FCT, to enlighten the students on the dangers and effects of drug abuse.

She added that the association has instituted Drug Abuse Club at Government Secondary School, Asokoro, as a pilot project, to ensure that students familiarise themselves with issues of drugs, their uses and abuse.

Chairman of the local organising committee of the event, , Lilian Agwaza, said concerted effort is being made to checkmate the abuse of drugs amongst children who have now overtaken the youth and adults in the illicit practice.

“The age range for drug abuse used to be from teenage to adult age. But now, it has gone down to 7 years. So, it is now of a higher prevalence, making it a very serious problem,” Agwaza said.