.. 0ne out of every 4 user, a woman
By Chioma Obinna
The Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy, NAPHARM, has raised concern over what it described as ‘staggering and unsavoury ‘statistics of Nigerians abusing drugs, saying, “if the menace of drug abuse are not checked, it will impair all efforts to put the nation on a higher political and economic pedestal.”
Speaking ahead of NAPHARM upcoming conference in Lagos tagged: ‘Pharmacy United Against Drug and Substance Use in Nigeria,’ Chairman of NAPHARM Drug & Substance Abuse Committee, Dr Lolu Ojo said a 2018 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODOC, endorsed by the former minister of health, Prof Isaac Adewole and the Statistician- General of the National Bureau of Statistics of Nigeria, Dr Yemi kale revealed that 14.4 million Nigerians aged between 15 and 64 years are drugs users.
According to NAPHARM, a 2018 report also revealed that Nigeria has 10.6 million users of Cannabis; 4.6 million users of pharmaceutical opiods, 238,000 amphetamine users, and one out of every five users of drugs are already dependent.
Ojo said: “One out of every four drug users is a woman. There are unconfirmed reports that the age of use has gone down to 7 years which means that the children in primary schools are already involved. We wish to sound a note of warning that this challenge may even be more than the current official estimates at our disposal and we will request the nation to be aware of the iceberg phenomenon that this subject may present before us.
There is practically no major city in Nigeria that does not have hideouts or joints or clubs or ram-shackles where the young ones gather to buy or use drugs of different descriptions to feel good,” he said.
He said as frontline stakeholders, NAPHARM is mobilising all pharmaceutical professional, trade and regulatory groups to come together and assist government efforts designed to eliminate the scourge from society. “We are organising a 1000-man sensitisation and awareness walk to educate and inform the public on Monday 10 June 2019, symposium themed: Sustainable approach to the eradication of drug and substance abuse in Nigeria.”
On his part, the President Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, Pharm. Sam Ohuabunwa who expressed concern on the menace of drug abuse said: “the effect of substance abuse is enormous and is affecting their level of productivity which in turn affecting national effort to grow the economy.
He said the PSN is determined to work with the government to minimised substance abuse to the level that it would no longer be a subject of concern, adding that to achieve the objective all hands must be on deck.