The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has called on the Federal Government to ensure stiffer punishment for perpetrators of drug trafficking to curb the menace in the country.
Mr Jelili Kilani, Chairman of PSN FCT Branch, made the call in Abuja on Monday to mark International day of drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
The day is marked on June 26 annually by the United Nations and the 2017 theme is ‘Listen first’.
Kilani noted that listening to children and youths was the first step to help them grow healthy and safe.
Kilani, who is also the Assistant Director, Drug Information Services and Pharmacovigilant Activities, National Hospital, identified drug trafficking as detrimental to health and society at large.
He said that drug trafficking was a global trade involving the cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and sales of substances, which were subject to drug prohibition law.
Kilani decried the rate of drug trafficking and other substances in the country, and blamed it on Nigeria’s porous border, inappropriate measures to checkmate the menace and lack of stiffer punishments.
He described drug abuse and trafficking as poison to the well-being of youths which posed greater challenges to the socio-economic and political stability of the country.
“Our borders should be more tightened in terms of security to prevent easy access to illegal drugs into the country.
“The government should ensure that whoever is caught will be made to face the law.
“The problem we have with our legal system is that once somebody is guilty of the offence and able to afford lawyers he is set free.
“This is not the case in other countries as soon as you are caught trafficking heroin or cocaine the perpetrator is sentenced to death.
“In Nigeria no capital punishment is applied hence people still engage in such unwholesome practices without caution.
“We should always think of implications or havoc to individuals and the larger society.
“Considering its harmful effect on individuals and society, government should ensure that anybody or group caught indulging in the act are severely dealt with to serve as deterrent to others.
“Unless we reduce demand for illicit drugs we can never fully tackle cultivation, production or trafficking.
“Government have a responsibility to counteract both drug trafficking and abuses,” Kilani said.
NAN reports that the International day of drug abuse and illicit trafficking is set aside by the United Nations to raise awareness on the major problems that illicit drugs represent to the society.
UN General Assembly in December, 1987 set aside June 26 as International day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking in view of the growing menace of drug trafficking to the deterioration of quality of life,
The day is commemorated to make people aware and emphasised the hazards of drug addiction and illegal trafficking.
The day is supported by individuals, communities and various organisations all over the world to chart a course to rid the society of illicit drugs.