APM Terminals Apapa, Nigeria’s largest container terminal, has collaborated with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in commemorating the 2023 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, otherwise known as World Drug Day, is marked on 26 June every year to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving a world free of drug abuse. The theme for this year was “People First: Stop Stigma And Discrimination, Strengthen Prevention”.
The aim of this year’s campaign is to raise awareness about the importance of treating people who use drugs with respect and empathy; providing evidence-based, voluntary services for all; offering alternatives to punishment; prioritising prevention; and leading with compassion.
The campaign also aimed to combat stigma and discrimination against people who use drugs by promoting language and attitudes that are respectful and non-judgmental.
Speaking during an event in Apapa to mark the day, Felix Ugwuagbo, Health and Safety Manager at APM Terminals Apapa said the company is partnering with NDLEA as part of its contribution to creating awareness about the negative impact of stigma and discrimination on people who use drugs and their families.
He said with counselling, encouragement and support from family members and the society, drug users can overcome their addiction and lead meaningful lives.
Also speaking at the event, Udotong Noah Essien, NDLEA Commander, Apapa Special Area Command, said the agency offers education and rehabilitation to drug users.
“We do not just castigate people who abuse drugs but we do our work creatively with distinction and honour. Our role is to make a positive impact in our towns, cities and states so that our nation will be a better place to live and work in. To this effect, we have declared war against drug abuse by bringing you all to join in the revolution,” he said.
Florence Ezeonye, NDLEA Assistant Command General of Narcotics, said stigma and discrimination are impediments to the campaign against drug abuse.
She enjoined Nigerians to develop attitudinal change towards people who use drugs and use friendly language towards them. She also asked family members to offer support and encouragement to those undergoing treatment for drug use.