The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has commissioned a modern 24/7 call centre, to attend to Nigerians from all parts of the country.
At the commissioning, which took place Thursday, 30 June, 2022, the Chairman/Chief Executive of the Agency, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd.), said that with the intiative, drug users and addicts no longer have excuse not to seek treatment.
TheFact Daily reports that according to Marwa, the provision of the centre with toll-free helpline manned by professionals and experts in counselling, psychotherapy, psychology and psychiatry among others, is a milestone in the Agency’s resolve to broaden access to quality health care for drug users in the country.
He said the initiative had become a necessity and a strategic intervention in the Agency’s determined effort to bring under control the increasing cases of drug use disorder and related health concerns.
Marwa noted that the country’s treatment centres and NDLEA’s 26 treatment facilities across its commands, were grossly inadequate in the face of statistics of drug users and those suffering from drug use disorder.
Marwa said further, that the NDLEA recognised the importance of providing a safety bubble for users who ordinarily cannot access the conventional treatment services at established rehabilitation centres due to such factors as poverty, social stigma and the resultant discrimination attached to being an identified drug user in society, among others. Therefore, the inevitability and the utility of a toll-free helpline that guarantees anonymity, confidentiality and safety, as a motivation for those in need of health help to freely seek such.
Enumerating the manifold benefits of the Call Centre, Marwa said, “aside from helping us in providing telephone-based psychosocial support and addiction services in the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA), it will at the same time provide us with information that will deepen our understanding of the country’s dynamics of drug use and potentially put us ahead of the game”.
He also said that the Center, with its team of licensed and credible clinical psychologists, counsellors, support workers and mental health professionals, who would provide the needed support in aiding recovery, managing social and emotional problems, improving quality of life and enhancing performance and productivity of the users of the service, as well as its state-of-the-art equipment, offers a teletherapy service according to global best practices.
“To those in need of help, we open a new chapter today, whereby help is just a phone call away. We have simplified the helpline service by making it language-sensitive whereby callers have the choice of language including English, Pidgin, Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo. And very importantly, the helpline is open 24/7. A call to the helpline, 0800 1020 3040, elicits a prompt response from professionals, regardless of the time or geographic location”, he said.
In their remarks at the event, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, represented by the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation, Muhammed Abubakar; UNODC country representative, Oliver Stolpe and European Union delegation representative, Eleni Zerzerlidou, commended the NDLEA for the initiative, and called for its expansion and sustenance.
The Chief Executive of the company managing the centre, Primly Services Ltd, Dr. Vincent Udenze, commended Marwa for providing the leadership that made the initiative a reality.