The Federal government says drug abuse, illicit Drug trafficking and related organised crimes has continue to pose serious threat to health and security in Nigeria.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health Mamman Mamuda Represented by the Director of Food and Drug Services Pharmacist, Olubukola Ajayi stated this on Tuesday at a National Discourse organised as part of the activities marking the Federal Ministry of Health 2021 Drug Abuse Sensitisation week.
According to him, the 2018 National Drug use survey reported that cannabis followed by opoid pharmaceuticals were the most Abused substances in Nigeria.
He said an estimated 10.8 million Nigerians were reported to have used cannabis in 2017 while 4.6 were found to have used opoids for non-medical purposes in the same year.
He said the mean age of initiation for cannabis and non medical use of pharmaceuticals opoid is 21 years and 19 years respectively.
He noted that these alarming statistics provide a glimpse into the global drug use situation which recognises the growing non medical use of opoids such as tramadol, codeine and morphine which he says is a serious health concern.
He said the need for statistically sound and policy relevant data on the extent and pattern of drug use to inform policy information and decision making cannot be overemphasised.
Mamuda said the focus of the event is to provide updated information on measures put in place by all actors to effectively tackle the dangers of non medical use of opoids pharmaceuticals and other substance of abuse.
He said these medicines when appropriately prescribed, dispensed and used will improve the quality of life of persons suffering from specific medical conditions like trauma, sickle cell, cancer, anxiety and opoid dependence.
He said Nations are also organise in the immense benefit of implementing evidence based strategies in the prevention and treatment of drug and substance abuse as well as the rehabilitation of drug users.
He added that concerted efforts are constantly being made to strengthen global action and cooperation towards achieving drug free society.
He said effective collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Health and other organisations working on drug related activities should propel further gains in reversing the alarming statistics reported in the 2018 National Drug use survey.
He called on MDA’s CSO’s, NGO’s and Development partners to consider the issue of drug use as a personal problem that must be dealt with before it destroys the fabric of the society.
The Director, Narcotics and Controlled Substance NAFDAC Dr. Umar Musa on his part said the increasing illicit usages of substances and drugs must be in the forefront of our national conversation due to the historic statistics.
He said NAFDAC’s policy is to ensure the availability of controlled medicines for licit medical purpose while preventing diversion to illicit channels and abuse.
He added that we must realise that this is one problem that cannot be addressed effectively if it is not addressed correctively due to the dynamic challenges and the issues associated with crime in the supply chain.
He said this we must recognise is not something we can do alone because of the issues experience in the control and regulation of these substances.