Katsina - The National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), on Wednesday said its officials had apprehended 426 persons for various drug related offences in Katsina State within the last nine months.
Maryam Gambo, the NDLEA Commander in the state, disclosed this in Katsina during activities organised to mark the United Nations Day Against Drug Abuse and Trafficking.
She said that 43 of them had been convicted and were serving prison terms ranging from six months to 15 years.
According to her, 905.9 kilogrammes of cannabis sativa and other psychotropic substances were also seized from the suspects during the period.
She expressed concern over the high rate of drug abuse in the state, especially among women and under-aged children.
Gambo said most drug users now consume lizard dung, nail polish cleaner, rubber solution, petrol, cough syrups with codeine content and other unconventional substances to get intoxicated.
The commandant said that the agency had counselled 388 persons through its rehabilitation programme, and called for the support of the people to make the state drug-free.
Earlier, the Director of Pharmaceutical Services, Ministry of Health, Hajia Rabi Sanusi, urged the state government to make a legislation to ban the sales, consumption and trafficking of the substances not captured under existing laws.
"There is the need for a government policy or legislation on the sales, trafficking and use of cough syrup containing codeine and related substances,’’ she said.
She also urged governments at all levels to tackle the issue of economic hardship facing Nigerians, which she noted, had contributed to increasing drug abuse and other social vices among youths.
In a remark, the state Commissioner for Health, Hussaini Yammama, urged parents to monitor their children to prevent them from getting involved in drug abuse.
He said that the state government would establish more vocational training centres to make youths self employed and useful to the society.