Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has said there is a direct relationship between drug addiction and increase in crime and criminality.
Governor Diri stated this on Saturday at the Peace Park in Yenagoa during a sensitisation walk/campaign against drug abuse to mark this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
The Bayelsa governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, said in a bid to address the menace associated with drug abuse, his government constituted a Drug Abuse Prevention and Rehabilitation Committee with well qualified personnel in the field.
He noted that crime and criminality were intertwined with drug abuse, and that for this reason the committee was set up to prevent lives of the young ones from wasting away.
He emphasised that his government was determined to rescue those caught in the drug addiction web by building a rehabilitation centre in the state.
He appealed to youths and the enlightened on the dangers of drug addiction to join the campaign against the illicit act.
He said: “I have always said that crime and criminality have an inverse relationship. If you look at the statistics of criminal and gang activities across our country, you will discover that most of those involved in crime and criminality are drug addicts.
“We cannot afford to waste the lives of the underprivileged. Our youths are golden to us.
“As a government, we have come to that realisation and that was why we set up this committee made up of professional and committed members that have continued to sensitise the populace and our youths to move away from drug, crime and criminality and embrace the good life.
“We are doing everything possible to ensure that even those that are addicted will soon have a place of rehabilitation. Your state government is building a rehabilitation centre in Ogbia Local Government Area.”
Governor Diri also cautioned politicians against influencing the youths negatively on illicit drug use, urging them to desist from the inhumane act or be ready to face the circumstances that come with it.
He thanked the Drug Abuse Prevention and Rehabilitation Committee for always being proactive in the fight against drug abuse and addiction.
In her opening remarks, chairperson of the committee, Dr. Faith Zibs-Godwin, noted that the UN General Assembly in 1987 decided to observe every June 26 as international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking as an expression of its determination to achieve its goal of a society free from drug abuse.
Mrs. Zibs-Godwin stressed that the motive of this year’s theme, which is “Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crisis” was to raise role models that will help others live a normal life and empower them to deal with life’s challenges.
Also, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Tonye Azebi, said drug abuse was gradually finding its way into every home through self-medication and use of unprescribed drugs.