Jos - The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Plateau said on Tuesday that it arrested 185 suspects and seized 1.329 kilogrammes of hard drugs between January and July.
The Commander of the agency in the state, Ngozi Madubuike, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos that out of 174 of the suspects were males.
She added that 74 men and three women were convicted of various drug offences.
"From January till date, 185 suspects have been arrested for drug offences, among whom male suspects were 174 and females 11.
"Between January and July this year, we already have 77 convicts; males, 74 and females three."
She attributed the rise in the use of drugs in Plateau to various factors including peer group pressure, family disintegration, unemployment, cold weather and the culture of the people which permitted drinking at an early age.
“One major problem here we have noticed is that the culture of the people; the culture permits the use of alcoholic substances, especially the locally brewed alcoholic substances which are a gate way drug.
“It is a gate way drug because they start with them and when they do not have the same feeling that they used to have, they want something higher and their body starts tolerating the harder drugs.
“Other factors responsible are peer pressure, as the young people want to be accepted by their friends so they indulge in the act of using illicit drugs, parental disintegration because most of them have family problems, then unemployment."
Madubuike said that the NDLEA rehabilitation centre had 85 patients from January till July, and 45 of the patients had been rehabilitated and discharged.
She said that 14 were referred to psychiatric hospitals because they manifested psychotic symptoms.
She called on the people whose wards were drug addicts to avail them of the services of rehabilitation centres.
She also appealed to the public to cooperate with the agency by providing it with useful information that would assist in stopping drug trafficking and abuse.
The commander said the agency would not relent in its effort to rid the society of illicit drugs.