The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has disclosed that approximately three million Nigerians are suffering from Drug Use Disorder (DUD) as a result of Cannabis, Meth and other dangerous drugs consumption.
The agency further revealed that not less than 155,000 out of the three million suffering from DUD are in dire need of medical treatment.
The Chairman/CEO of NDLEA, retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, said this at the opening of a workshop on Drug Prevention, Treatment and Care (DPTC) for governor’s wives in Abuja.
He said: “This is the findings of a recent drugs survey which suggests that 1 in 5 persons; approximately 3 million Nigerians, who had used drugs was suffering from Drug Use Disorder.”
According to the NDLEA boss, the situation is not irredeemable.
“Indeed, the situation can be salvaged, reversed and controlled, only if we move quickly, and adopt strong, well-conceived, coordinated and holistic measures, of which this workshop is a part of the process.
“The Drug Prevention Treatment and Care (DPTC) training is designed to enhance the capacities of stakeholders to implement evidence-based drug prevention education programmes as well as enhance accessibility of treatment and care for those with Substance Use Disorder and also facilitate their social reintegration where and when necessary.
“This workshop is of great significance to the strategic effort to control the abuse, trafficking and consequences of illicit drugs in our country.
“The objective, in the end, is to improve our skills and optimize our capacity to counter the drug phenomenon,” Marwa, a one-time Lagos State military governor, said.
Marwa noted that in the past 16 months, the agency has recorded an unprecedented level of activities towards addressing the drug situation in the country.
“This year, as at the end of May, NDLEA has seized approximately 155,000 kilograms of drugs and recorded 5,341 arrests and 984 convictions.
“Likewise, Nigeria has also become a producer of and a market for Crystal Methamphetamine known locally as Mkpuru Mmiri.
“We all witnessed the havoc unleashed by this highly dangerous illicit substance in the Southeast region of the country last year.
“As if that is not enough, we have also become a dumping ground for illicit pharmaceutical opioids, especially codeine and tramadol, just as we remain Africa’s major transit country for cocaine and heroin.
“As we all are aware, the drug problem has become one of the world’s greatest challenges that threaten the well-being of human society.
“Consequences of drug abuse, including chronic health conditions and untimely death, are existential threats that cannot be ignored by any responsible government.
“Sadly, Nigeria is not insulated against this problem. Our country presently has some alarming drug statistics. For example, we are a major cannabis cultivating and consuming country.
“Four years ago, we had 10.6 million users of the psychoactive plant, which made Nigeria the world’s leading cannabis-consuming country,” Marwa explained.
“From January 2021 to May 2022, a total of 11, 523 drug users have been counselled and treated in NDLEA facilities mostly through brief interventions.”