37 suspected drug users and dealers were detained by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), who also found 820 ampoules of pentazocine injections in Katsina State.
The suspects were apprehended within a 24-hour operation, according to Mr. Mohammed Bashir, the state’s NDLEA commander, who spoke to reporters on Friday in Katsina.
He explained that 32 of the 37 people detained—including a woman and a disabled person—were drug users, while five of the 37 were suspected drug dealers.
All 32 alleged drug users would undergo testing, according to Bashir, and the results would determine whether they would remain as clients or be sent home.
“It is so sad that just an arrest of one ampoule of pentazocine led the operatives to the arrest of close to one thousand ampoules of pentazocine injections.
“The pentazocine injection is the narcotic injection that is being abused now in the state.
“One user was arrested with one ampoule of the injection and when he was interrogated, he took us to where he bought it,” he added.
The commander said that led to the arrest of the main dealer at Kofar Durbi, where 820 ampoules were discovered.
“You can imagine if these were not intercepted or seized; probably in the next few days it would have been in the system of our youths,” he said.
Bashir said the issue of substance abuse in the state has become alarming, in spite of efforts by the NDLEA and the state government to contain it.
“If you look at the suspects, they are between the ages of 17 and 35; it is so sad.”
The commander said that the NDLEA would render counselling and treatment for those arrested.
“Those who actually need brief intervention, we are going to do an intervention for them and allow them to go and probably do a kind of follow up.
“We are going to separate them from those who actually need serious interventions like counselling, rehabilitation and integration.
“But the essence is not just arresting, counselling and letting them go. We want to keep them for a period of three months where some of them will go through proper counseling and rehabilitation.
“The government is supporting us with that. We are going to keep them here. While doing that, we expect them to learn a vocation, probably shoe making,” the commander said.
According to him, the target of the intervention is to ensure that they are free from drugs and have earned lifetime skills to be self-reliant.