- 14.3m Nigerians abuse drugs, says UNODC
Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd), has disclosed that drug abuse and illicit trafficking were responsible for over 90 per cent of criminality in the country.
A study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2018 indicated that 14.4 percent or 14.3 million people aged 15 and 64 years, abuse drugs in Nigeria.
This is very high compared to global annual prevalence of 5.6 percent. Marwa, a former Military Administrator of Lagos State, who spoke at the Third Scientific Week and commemoration of the 2021 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, held at the weekend in Abuja.
The event, which was organised by the Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN), Abuja Branch, had as its theme: ‘Share Facts on Drugs, Save Lives’.
The NDLEA boss, who was represented by Mrs Chizoba Etuka, said the phenomenon of drug abuse has reached a worrisome level, stressing that it will require collective effort to combat the menace.
Marwa highlighted the dangers of drug abuse to include incapacitation of workforce in organisations, ruining of communities and societies, disintegration of families among others.
He lamented that it has also given rise to all types of crimes such as insurgency, terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, rape and violent extremism. “The dynamism of the drug problem has made it imperative for us to continue to deepen our knowledge and understanding of this deleterious conundrum.
In this regard, sharing facts about drug abuse and illicit trafficking in narcotics, as captured by this year’s theme, will go a long way in shedding some light on hitherto hidden factors that aid predisposition to substance abuse, especially the question of new psychoactive substances.
“It needs to be stressed that the far reaching implications of substance abuse in our society should not be underestimated. It is seriously touching the roots of our society, it ruins the lives of our young children, it influences criminal activities, contributes to the spread of sexually transmitted infections including HlV/AIDS, health consequences, poverty, domestic violence and other forms of violence and in fact every facet of our society and necessitates our urgent attention.”
Chief of Staff to the Deputy President of the Senate, Pharmacist Otive Igbuzor who chaired the event, expressed worry that the rate of drug abuse in Nigeria was about thrice the global average of 5.6 percent.