The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has warned the citizens against drug abuse due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Head of Public Affairs, NDLEA, Mr Jonah Achema, gave the warning in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
Achema said that some people have taken to self-medication of COVID-19 by treating themselves in the house without getting to see a doctor noting that such an act could trigger abuse of drugs and illicit substances.
According to him, with the kind of concoctions we have been hearing as therapy for COVID-19, it gives us an idea and impression of addiction already.
“This means that after the COVID-19 pandemic a lot of people are going to get hooked and become addicted to those drugs that affect the central nervous systems.
“Well, COVID-19 may appear to be a new development but some of the symptoms are within us and are evidently caused by drug abuse.
“Considering that some drugs people take such as caffeine and nicotine impact negatively on the lungs, liver and the kidney.
“We know what nicotine does but what is becoming worrisome is that COVID-19 can amplify drug abuse because of the self medications by people,” he said.
Achema said that there were people who would want to take preventive measures without following any necessary medical protocol or treatment.
He also said that some people after noticing symptoms would start to take measures to avert or cure with no recourse to medical protocols.
“And by so doing they take all manner of drugs without following prescription or dosage.
“We have heard of bitter kola, we have heard of ginger, lemon and all manner of substances and you know when you combine these things there will be trouble.
“Ordinarily or independently they may not be harmful. But the combination, the volume and the quantum can cause more harm than good.
“Even ordinary fruit, we may think it is not harmful, but when you take too much it may impact negatively on your health.
“Too much of everything they say is bad,” he said.
The NDLEA spokesperson said that the agency had joined hands with other stakeholders in creating awareness, provide security and enforcement of the law in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted that NDLEA functioned within a standing committee in various states in collaboration with other security agencies and stakeholders.
“Fighting COVID-19 is not within the mandate of the agency but as a responsible agency, within our own staff, we spread the gospel of improving personal hygiene, hand washing and distancing oneself.
“We operate within the framework of a responsible organisation, collaboration and spreading the awareness.
“And we also try to let people know seeming symbiotic relationship between COVID-19 and drug abuse, ” he said.
Achema appealed to the public to follow the rules and guidelines from the NCDC to help fight the scourge bedevilling the country and the entire globe.
He urged the people who might have seen the symptoms to visit the testing centres to avoid the spread of the virus, adding that fighting COVID-19 was a collective effort.
He reiterated the agency’s commitment to providing more awareness and measures in the fight against drug abuse in the country.