• Thursday, June 13, 2024
businessday logo


MTN, others spotlight Nigeria’s rampant drug abuse problem


The United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) has decried the incessant use and abuse of drugs in Nigeria, stating that users are predominantly young people between the ages of 16 and 34.

According to Oliver Stolpe, country representative, UNODC, 2018 Survey, revealed over 14.8 million Nigerians who had used drugs with 3 million of them living with a drug use disorder.

Stolpe disclosed this during a school quiz competition organised by MTN through its Anti-Substance Abuse Programme (ASAP), to commemorate the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking held in Abuja on Friday.

Read also: MTN leads walk against substance abuse
According to him, there are projections that the drug use prevalence in Africa will increase by 40 percent by 2030.

“For a country like Nigeria with a teeming youth population, this is alarming and should be a wakeup call to everyone, not just NDLEA, or other stakeholders currently working in this field.

“All hands must be on deck to reverse this negative trend. Our youth are our future and the current indices do not bode well for the future of the country.

“The 2018 Nigeria Drug Use Survey put Nigeria’s drug use prevalence at over 3 times the global average, with users being predominantly young people between the ages of 16 and 34,” he said.

Speaking further Stolpe stressed on the need for evidence-based policies that speak to the specific situation and issues faced by individuals with drug use disorders while strengthening prevention mechanism.

Prevention mechanisms according to him would mean providing the growing population of youths the skills to say no to pressures to experiment with drugs.

According to Odunayo Sanya, secretary, MTN Foundation, the quiz competition aims to create awareness of substance abuse among secondary students.

“A series of awareness activities has been implemented prior to June 26 (the World Drug Day) to create awareness of the menace of substance abuse and drive traffic towards the National Stakeholders Conference in commemoration of the World Drug Day.

“This year’s theme is “People First: Stop Stigma and Discrimination, Strengthen Prevention”. Thus, the reason for our theme “It’s Everyone’s Fight”, because of a truth, to curb this menace, we all have to be involved,” Sanya said.

In his remark, the chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, brigadier general Mohammed Buba Marwa said that drug use among young persons of school age has become worrisome which necessitated the Quiz Competition among secondary school students.

For him, the effects of drugs are very devastating and ranging from the physical, psychological effects like depression and social effects including increase in crime rate.

“Young people use drugs mainly because they want to be like their peers (Peer Pressure), they copy quickly and are highly impressionable.

The Chairman who was represented by Shedrack Haruna, Secretary to the DG, noted that according to the National Drug Use survey, 14.3 million Nigerians aged 15-64 years had used a psychoactive substance. While one in seven (7) persons had used a drug (other than tobacco and

“One in every four (4) drug user in Nigeria is a woman, one in five persons who use drugs in Nigeria is suffering from drug us disorder,” he said.

Of the six schools that made it to the final stage of the quiz competition, PTA-NADP International College, from Nasarawa State emerge at the 1st position, followed by Anglican Girls Grammar School, Benin City at 2nd and Government Girls’ Secondary School, Yola at the 3rd position.