The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), has urged the youth to desist from drug abuse in order to fulfill their potential and ensure national development.
Dr Elijah Mohammed, Registrar of the council, made the call on Friday at the advocacy workshop on “Say no to illicit drugs” among the youth in Bayelsa.
The workshop was organised by the council in collaboration with Sen. Diri Duoye, the Governor of Bayelsa.
Mohammed noted that every nation’s workforce consisted predominantly of both the young people in their prime and the middle aged. According to him, the contributions of these groups to national development cannot be over-emphasised in view of the various inputs that the category of people adds to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“It is, also a known fact that controlled medicines such as narcotic drugs have two different potential:
“The potential to be used for medical and scientific purposes and also to be diverted to illicit channels for trafficking and abuse, which in effect could jeopardise the wellbeing of the populace.
“Curiosity and peer pressure are major reasons people, especially school children and young adults, embark on non-medical drug use.”
Mohammed noted that the platform would serve as a vehicle to further achieve the key objectives of providing a platform of interaction to increase awareness on the subject matter. He added that it would discourage indiscriminate use of medicines and other substances of abuse among the populace especially the youth.
The registrar said that the goal of the workshop was to explore and promote economic development potential among the Nigerian youth.
According to him, it will help the target audience understand and appreciate the fact that it is profitable to live a healthy lifestyle without necessarily engaging in the indiscriminate use of illicit substances. The registrar noted that based on the 2019 World Drug Report (WDR), in 2017 an estimated 271 million people, or 5.5 per cent of the global population aged 15 to 64 had used drugs in the previous year.
He, however, identified that the Drug Use in Nigeria Survey report released in January 2019 as the first ever comprehensive, nation-wide, survey examined the extent and patterns of drug use in the country.
According to him, based on the report the drug use prevalence in Nigeria is 14.4 per cent or 14.3 million people between the ages of 15 to 64 years.
“This is comparatively higher when compared to global prevalence rate of 5.5 per cent as per World Drug Report 2019.
“The highest used drug in Nigeria is cannabis (10.6 million) followed by opioids (4.6 million), while non-medical use of prescription opioids and cough syrups is (2.4 million).”
He noted that prior to the Drug Use Survey by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in Nigeria, PCN proposed to the ministry of health to constitute a Multi-ministerial, Multi-agency and Multi-sectoral Committee on drug use.
“The proposal is to be tagged Codeine Control and Other Related Matters Working Group (CCRWG) to extensively x-ray the issues of drug use in Nigeria and come up with appropriate recommendations to address the problems.
“The Memorandum received approval of the Minister and CCRWG was inaugurated on January 23, 2018,” he noted.
The registrar emphasised that the Federal Government was committed to the full implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG). He noted that the objective of the NDDG was to streamline and sanitise drug distribution channels with a view to reducing non-medical access to medicines of abuse.
According to him, the process will involve closure of all open drug markets and relocation of operators of the markets to the already approved Coordinated Wholesale Centres (CWCs).