The Senate has urged the Federal Government to declare a State of Emergency on illicit drugs and drug abuse in the country.
This followed adoption of a motion on, “Urgent need to address the menace of drug abuse in Nigeria” at plenary on Tuesday by Babangida Hussain.
Presenting the motion, Babangida said that Nigeria is faced with rising cases of drug abuse which has reached an unprecedented level.
He said Nigeria has transformed from a mere transit country in the 1990s, into a country filled with drug addiction and drug traffickers all over its land space.
“A population of between 30 million and 35 million spends approximately $15,000 and $30,000 annually on psychotropic drugs and alcoholic beverages in Nigeria,” he said.
He said the statistics by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and the European Union on drug use in Nigeria, stated that about 14.3 million Nigerians between the ages 15 and 64, are drug users.
“The report stated that 10.6 million addicts are cannabis users, 4.6 addicts use pharmaceutical opioids, and 238,0000 abusers use amphetamines,” he said.
He said the prevalence of drug abuse per geopolitical zone in 2017 showed that the North-West accounted for 12 per cent, North-East 13.6 per cent North-Central 10 per cent, South-West 22.4 per cent, South-South 16.6 per cent, and the South-East 13.8 per cent.
The report stated that 10.6 million addicts are cannabis users, 4.6 addicts use pharmaceutical opioids, and 238,0000 abusers use amphetamines.
Babaginda said the main drugs abused in Nigeria were mood altering or psycho active drugs, performance-enhancing drugs, dependency drugs and prescription drugs.
He said the side effects included addiction, trauma, mental illness, and oftentimes results in ill health, violence and involvement in criminal activities.
He said that a significant number of deaths from accidents and violent crimes had been traced to the activities of persons under the influence of drugs.
He expressed worry that the war against drug abuse being carried out by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NAFDAC) is not yielding the required result.
Babaginda said there is a need to include special drug education in the schools’ curriculum.
He also expressed concern that the prevalence of drug abuse in Nigeria was a public health challenge that seemed to be on the increase in spite of intervention by international, regional, federal and state bodies through laws and policies.
Contributing, Mohammed Monguno, said drug abuse was affecting the productivity of youths as it had negative economic effects, while also distorting cultural values. (NAN)