The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has revealed that Cannabis was the most widely used substance in Nigeria in 2017, followed by tramadol, and to a lesser extent, codeine.
UNODC’s Representative, Mr William Wu, said in Lagos on Wednesday that this was according to a report on a survey conducted by UNODC on “Drug Use in Nigeria 2018’’.
Wu spoke at a one-day conference organised by the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Referral Services in collaboration with Echoes of Mercy and Hope Foundation Outreach in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference was in commemoration of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking marked annually on June 26.
According to the study, the high use of cannabis was followed by pharmaceutical opioids mainly tramadol, and to a lesser extent, codeine.
Quoting the study, Wu said:
“In 2017, 10.6 million Nigerians used Cannabis; 4.6 million used opioids; 2.4 million used cough syrup inappropriately as drugs; 481,000 people used tranquelisers and sedatives.
“Also, 34,000 Nigerians used ecstasy; 3000 Nigerians used solvents and inhalants; 238,000 used amphetamines and perspective stimulants, while 92,000 Nigerians used cocaine in 2017.
“Proportionally, more men than women have used drugs in Nigeria in 2017.
“One in four drug users in Nigeria is a woman, while men are seven times more likely than women to use cannabis.
“The gender difference is in the non-medical usage of pharmaceutical opioids– such as tramadol, codeine and morphine, tranquilizers and cough syrups containing codeine or dextromethorphan is less pronounced.
“Men are also more likely than women to be high risk drug users, including those who inject drugs.’’
The UNODC representative called for the establishment of a drug observatory that could regularly collate data and analyse the drug situation in the country.
“There is need for a mechanism such as the establishment of a drug observatory, which can regularly collate data and analyse the drug situation in the country to further inform policy and programme development.
“The drug observatory could regularly monitor, through established indicators of drug use and supply, the emerging new drug threats and the implementation of regular drug use surveys in the general population and among youth.
“It will also monitor the analysis of patterns of drug use among vulnerable population groups, and the monitoring of the extent and quality of responses to address the drug situation in the country,’’ Wu said.