The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said it arrested a total of 272 suspects and seized 339.81kg of hard drugs in Akwa Ibom in 2021.

The State Commander of NDLEA, Mrs. Obot Bassey, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the activities of the agency in Uyo on Friday.

Giving the breakdown, Bassey said the suspects comprised of 233 males and 39 females, while the hard drugs siezed were 311.2477kg of cannabis sativa, 1.2581kg of cocaine, 0.2882kg heroin, 0.0545kg of meth and 26.970kg of psychotropic substance.

She said the command also convicted 39 persons, made up of 37 males and two females, with a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment.

“Of spectacular note was the seizure of 1.2kg of cocaine in Akwa Ibom State, being the highest seizure in 18 years.

“The hard drug prevalent in the state is cannabis sativa, locally referred to as “ikongekpo’.

“There are also cases of abuse of psychotropic substances, such as tramadol, diazepam, codeine, rohypnol, exol 5 among others,” Bassey said.

She warned that the ingestion of these drugs increases the amount of chemicals, known as dopamine in the brain, which distorts reality, gives poor judgment, and can result in mental illness.

Bassey explained that crystal meth addiction, in particular, was the most difficult to treat, which she said causes irregular heartbeats, irregular body temperature, violent behavior, and even death.

The commander said the agency would continue to ensure that the state is free from hard drugs, and warned drug addicts to desist from such acts, as the command would not spare anyone caught.