The National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested 37 suspected drug users and dealers and seized 820 ampoules of pentazocine injections in Katsina State.
The NDLEA Commander in the state, Mr Mohammed Bashir told newsmen on Friday in Katsina that the suspects were arrested within a 24-hour operation.
He explained that five of the 37 arrested were suspected drug dealers, while 32 were drug users, including a woman and a cripple.
Bashir said that all the 32 suspected drug users would be tested “and the result would determine whether they will be resident clients or go 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 counseling and treatment for those arrested.
“Those who actually need brief intervention, we are going to do 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 counselling 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.