Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Buba Marwa, says one in every five Nigerians using illicit drugs is a woman.
Marwa, a retired brigadier-general and former military governor of Lagos State, also disclosed that over 10.6 million Nigerians use cannabis, followed by opioids with 4.6 million and tramadol, making these drugs the most used by Nigerians.
This, he said, justifies the agency’s offensive against illicit drugs’ production laboratories and farms in Nigeria. Marwa stated this in a presentation on the national drug control master plan at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs conference, in Vienna, Austria.
In a statement issued by Femi Babafemi, NDLEA’s director of media and advocacy, weekend, Marwa described as unacceptable a situation where drug use in Nigeria is 14.4 percent, saying every step must be taken to reverse the trend.
According to him, the drug use prevalence among Nigerians aged between 15 and 64 years is approximately 15 percent, three times the global drug use prevalence of 5.5 percent.
“Cannabis use by 10.6 million Nigerians is the most commonly used drug followed by opioids with 4.6 million including tramadol.
“This is in addition to the fact that one in every five individuals using drugs is a woman and one in five who had used drug in the past year is suffering from drug user disorder,” he explained.
He noted that the intensity with which the NDLEA was prosecuting the war against illicit drugs was to stem the threat they pose to national security, as Nigeria is traditionally considered a transit country for drug trafficking.
“Now, the problem is much bigger as different categories of drugs are produced, consumed and trafficked in the country.
“Drugs trafficked include cannabis, cocaine, heroin and psychotropic substances, including methamphetamine and tramadol. Cannabis is cultivated in different parts of the country and there is evidence of methamphetamine producing laboratories.”
He disclosed that the NDLEA has destroyed thousands of hectares of cannabis cultivated land as well as 18 methamphetamine manufacturing laboratories.
The NDLEA boss said the agency was committed to cutting off the supply of and reducing the demand for illicit drugs and other substances of abuse, tracing and recovering drug-related proceeds, and contributing to the creation and maintenance of an enviable image for the nation within the global community.
He explained that the essence of the National Drug Control Master Plan, (NDCMP), was comprehensive and balanced as it focused on drugs not only from law-and-order perspectives but also as a public health and education issue.
“It provides balanced solutions to issues of drug demand and supply and ensures access to controlled medicines for medical and scientific purposes.
“In developing the NDCMP 2021-2025, the effort was made to ensure that the document is aligned and harmonised with the existing international and regional conventions.