NDLEA boss decries rising cases of drug use in Nigeria
•Says Nigeria has 10.6 million illegal users of cannabis
Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), has decried the rising cases of drug abuse in the country and canvassed for a paradigm shift to change the narrative.
Marwa spoke on the topic, “Drug Abuse in Nigeria: Changing the narratives”, at the Institute Of Change Management (ICM) Annual Dinner 2021, held in Maryland, Lagos.
He lamented the growing rate of drug abuse in the country despite efforts by the government to end the ugly trend.
He said: “For a country as vast and diverse as Nigeria with the attendant challenges that comes with its diversity and burgeoning population, change in any sector will have to be induced and managed. Failure to do this across board is the reason the country is facing so many challenges today.
“NDLEA is in the news these days, mentioned in connection with arrests and convictions of traffickers, seizure and destruction of shipments of illicit drugs. But I tell you, those stories offer just glimpses, not the big picture of Nigeria’s drug profile. When you stitch together intelligence reports, research statistics and empirical evidence, you can then start to get an idea of how big the drug abuse leviathan is in this country.
“Without mincing words, the drug problem of Nigeria is massive. The facts and figures are in the public domain. For example, the National Drug Use Survey 2018 indicated that 14.3million Nigerians, representing 14.4per cent of the country’s population used psychoactive substances aside from alcohol.”
Marwa who was represented by Director, Sea Port Operation, NDLEA, Omolade Faboyede, added: “Nigeria became the biggest grower of Cannabis Sativa, with 90per cent of the psychotropic plant cultivated consumed within the country.
“Aside from smoking the plants, our youths now convert cannabis to new Psychoactive Substances (NPS) such as monkeytail. The drug abuse situation got so bad that over the decade, prescription opioids such as Codeine and Tramadol were abused with impunity to the extent that they are used as main ingredients for drinks such as Skuchies. This abuse of psychoactive substances happened mostly among users aged 19 to 54, and predominantly among those in the 29-35 brackets.”
On his part, Chairman/President of Council, Mr. Nathaniel Osewele, said since the world would never stop evolving, the Institute would continue the search for best ways to prepare human and institutional capacities to be able to stem the tide and remain relevant by ensuring their members are equipped with the knowledge and skills to excel and lead in their various endeavours.