The Federal Government says it has established a Drug Demand Reduction unit in the Ministry of Health to coordinate and implement evidence-based strategies for drug prevention, treatment and continuous care.
It also said through the European Union funded project, response to drugs and related organised crime, the ministry has upgraded 11 hospitals as Model Drug Treatment Centres across the 6 geo-political zones of the country.
It added that seven of of the hospitals are designated as regional training centers for Drug dependence treatment.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora disclosed this on Friday at a press briefing to herald the 2021 Drug Abuse Sensitisation week with the theme; Share facts on drugs, save lives.
The Minister said the menace of Drug abuse has reached an epidemic proportion and thus requires concerted efforts by all noting that Drug trafficking and use is not only a threat to security, governance and development of a nation but also to the health of its citizenry.
He said based on World Health Organisation’s 2015 estimates, psychoactive Drug use is responsible for more than 450,000 deaths per year.
He said the Drug attributable disease burden account for about 1.5% of the global burden of disease.
“Injecting Drug use accounts for an estimated 30% of new HIV infections outside sub-Saharan Africa and contributed significantly to the epidemics of hepatitis B and C in all regions of the world”.
The Minister said the 2018 National Survey on Drug use and Health estimates the prevalence of drug use in Nigeria at 14.4% corresponding to 14.3 million people between the ages of 15 to 64.
He said this is about three times more than the 2017 global prevalence of 5.6% among the adult population.
Dr Mamora said as much as law enforcement and criminal sanctions play a key role in reducing availability and accessibility of illicit drugs and their use, he added that such measures should be balanced with adequate Drug Demand Reduction strategies.
He said “if the future of Nigeria is to be guaranteed, it is imperative that we collectively, honestly, and critically review the social cultural, economic and legal factors that have in one way or the other contributed to the epidemic.
He said we must continue to create an environment that discourages people from seeing Drug use as an alternative or solution to a problem.
The Director General of NAFDAC Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye on her part said, the policy thrust of her agency is to ensure availability, access and rational use while preventing illicit use and misuse of drugs.
She assured that the agency remain committed to the coordinated wholesale centers being planned for the effective distribution of pharmaceuticals in the country.
Prof Adeyeye noted that this unlicensed retails facilities serve as medium for illicit Drug distribution she however promise that NAFDAC will continue to build upon the synergy that existed between the agency and pharmacy councils to ensure effective monitoring and tracking of controlled substances in the distribution chain and to enforce compliance with the National Drug distribution guidelines.