The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has said that approximately, 14.3 million Nigerians are involved in drug abuse.
The agency said the 14.3 million Nigerian drug abusers are within the age range of 15 and 64 years, adding that more women are now involved.
The Ogun state Commander of the NDLEA, Ibiba Odili, stated this during the Launch of the War Against Drug Abuse in collaboration with Lions clubs international, held in Abeokuta.
Odili lamented the alarming trend of the involvement of women in drug abuse in the country, saying one in four is a woman.
She said, “2018 survey tells us that the most common drug abused in Nigeria is cannabis, which regrettably is cultivated mostly in the southwest region of Nigeria.
“That, one out of every four drug users is a woman. In 2018 data shows that more women are going into drug use. And if more women are going into drug use, it is a source of worry for us, because, it means that the traditional row of women in families and communities are caregivers, role models, and live moulders will be threatened, because what quality of children are these women going to raise.”
She explained that Nigeria transformed from a mere transit country for drug trafficking to a major consumer and even producer of illicit substances.
She said, “We started by being a transit country, consuming maybe cannabis, alcohol, and all of that, then, we graduated to heroin, cocaine, but today, regrettably, Nigeria is not just transit, we are huge consumers, and we are not just cultivator of cannabis, we are now producing drugs, such as methamphetamine, which is highly addictive, very potent.”
She further said that the survey revealed that, young people were getting creative and innovative in finding new ways to get high.
She added that they now abuse household substances like methylated spirit, glue, nail polish, paint thinner, fermented urine, and even the heads of matches, as this contributes to the complexity of the drug abuse issue.
Odili warned about the dire consequences of drug production, especially substances like methamphetamine.
She explained that regions involved in producing such drugs may suffer from various forms of cancer and other terminal diseases within a decade or two.
She urged the Lions Clubs to take an active role in addressing the drug abuse problem, especially considering Nigeria’s large youth population.
In his remarks, the Governor of Lions Clubs International, District 404 B3, Olayiwola Fadairo corroborated Odili on the increase of drug abuse among youths in the country.
He said the club has the mandate to cleanse the society of drugs.
He said “We want to partner with NDLEA anywhere and anyhow that we can help. If we cannot eradicate it, we can reduce it.”