The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Abia Command said it secured 12 convictions against drug offenders in the fourth quarter of 2018 in the state.
The State Commandant of the agency, Mr Bamidele Akingbade, made the disclosure in his office, Aba, during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday.
Akingbade said the agency also arraigned seven other suspects on drug related cases at Federal High court, Umuahia, to deter illicit drug dealers and users as well as rid the state of hard drugs.
Akingbade urged courts to assist the agency in checking the use of illicit drugs in the area by giving the offenders more severe sentences.
He said that the command had between July and September rehabilitated 14 drug addicts, adding that some of them had gone home to resume normal life.
Akingbade said that there was need to reduce the high preponderance of illicit drugs in Abia.
He said that at least, three types of prohibited drugs were in use in all the 17 local government areas of the state.
The commandant said that the agency recorded the use of cocaine and heroin in 12 local governments.
According to him, NDLEA also records the presence of cannabis, skonk cannabis, tramadol, benylin with codeine and rophenol in seven other local government areas.
“There is no local government in Abia that does not have record of the use of a particular brand of prohibited drug in it.
“I can say, with emphasis, that only five local government areas in Abia: Arochukwu, Ohafia, Umunneochi, Bende and Isiukwuato are free from the recorded use of cocaine and heroin.
“The other 12 local governments have recorded cases of abuse of cocaine and heroin.
“This reality leaves the citizens in the state with lots of security, health issues and lots of people getting addicted and requiring rehabilitation.
“It must be said that drug addiction is better prevented than cured,” he said.
Akingbade said that the rate at which people in the state consumed drugs was alarming, adding that the development had resulted in higher level of drug-dependent persons requiring rehabilitation.
He said that the agency got at least, three requests from drug dependent persons weekly for rehabilitation thus, bringing the number to about 156 annually.
The number, he said, did not include addicts who could not pay for their treatment.
Akingbade, who said that his office could not meet the huge request for rehabilitation it received called on the state government to help expand the agency’s rehabilitation centre to take more addicts.