GBV: Initiative backs call for premarital drug tests


By Bridget Ikyado
Amb. Princess Raphael,Chief Executive Officer, ‘Initiative Against Addiction and Substance Abuse in Nigeria ( IIASAN), has backed the call by the NDLEA for the conduct premarital drug test.
She said that she supports the move as it will help would-be couples with drug problems to seek help.
She told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an Interview on Saturday in Abuja, ”issues on drugs needed not be handled with kid gloves, as families,societies and the country could be ruined.
‘’ I totally support the idea 100%, there is a lot of abuse in marriages now, a lot of depression, fight, killings.
“A normal human being cannot kill his partner without the influence of drugs, and with all these security issues in Nigeria, no normal being carry gun and kidnap or involve in criminal activities without taking drugs.”
She, therefore, called on governments to make drugs test compulsory before marriage.
Raphael said her organisation was focused on offering support to those involved in drugs.
“What we want to achieve mostly is to take care of the ones that are already on drugs, rehabilitate them and let those that have not started to know that it is not something they can get into.
“That is why we have young medics to serve as role models. I tried to catch them young.
”I am taking the message to the grassroots through my wellness team,” she added.
She alleged that patent medicine stores and some pharmacies of exacerbating the illicit drugs problem in the country by selling even controlled drugs without prescription.
“What is responsible for the rate of drugs is connivance with pharmacists. There are some drugs you cannot get without prescriptions, but after a little tip, they will give it to you.”
She listed some of these drugs killing people as Diazepam, Promethazine, Pentazocine.
Raphael urged the control agencies must scrutinise the pharmacies and track what they sale on a day to day basis.
“The way out is to regulate the pharmacists and watch what they are doing because by the end of the day we cannot condemn anybod.
”We just have to tell the pharmacists to do the right thing,” she added
Raphael thanked the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria for its support in the fight against drug abuse.
She said: ” Very importantly is the fact that some victims of drug and substance abuse in our communities feel more comfortable expressing or talking themselves to their traditional leaders and for this reason.
” It is only imperative for us to increase our collaboration and actively work with them in the fight against this menace in the society.
” Consequently, our organization is taking the lead to drive this collaborative vision and is not relenting to complement the efforts of the NDLEA through our regular campaigns and awareness programs in the country.”
She said the fight had birthed among others, the need for the establishment of an IAASAN Wellness Center.
The centre, she explained, will be committed to preventive and curative healthcare, therapeutic interventions, as well as rehabilitation.
Others are lifestyle modification, health promotion and specific disease management; such as diabetes and high blood pressure, among others.
”Degenerative diseases in elderly persons and with focus on security personnel’s that are going through depression and have been traumatized in the course of their service to the nation were included.
”Our initiative has a team of experts that have decided to commit themselves towards this course and especially in supporting our retired service personnel.
”We are seeking for the support and collaboration of all our security agencies in the country, as we work together in achieving this initiative and great goal, ”she said.