Chairman/ Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has said that the use of credible data is essential in the fight against drug abuse even as he warned that the number of people using illicit drugs in Africa might rise by 40 percent in year 2030.
Marwa stated this on Tuesday 14th September, 2021 while launching the West African Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (WENDU) Report of Statistics and Trends on illicit drug use and supply 2018-2019.
He expressed Nigeria’s preparedness to continue to provide credible data to sustain the fight against drug abuse.
According to him, “The misuse of psychoactive substances such as alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine as well as prescription medications exert tremendous toll on the individual, families, communities and societies.
Substance use has impacted negatively on public health, caused injuries, loss of income and productivity, family and community dysfunction and even death.
“Drug use around the world has been on the increase in terms of the overall number as well as the proportion of the world’s population that use drugs.
The continuous increase in the types of new psychoactive substances being discovered globally is also worrisome.
According to the World Drug Report 2020, in 2018, an estimated 269 million people representing 5.3 percent of the global population was reported to have used drugs as against 210 million in 2009 representing 4.8 percent.
“The West Africa Sub Region is in the lime light at the international scene because of its role as a transit hub for cocaine from South America and heroin from East Asia to Europe as well as its heightened tramadol, codeine and cannabis use.
“Furthermore, going by the projection of demographic factors, by 2030, the number of people using drugs is expected to rise by 11 percent around the world and as much as 40 percent in Africa alone.
The role of credible data in addressing the world drug problem cannot be over emphasized.
West African States just like the rest of Africa have been grappling with the problem of dearth of credible data on the trend of drug use in the sub region.”
Assuring that Nigeria will continue to play its role to support the sustainability of WENDU by continuously providing credible data through its National Sentinel Network; the Nigerian Epidemiological Network on Drug Use, NENDU, Marwa urged “all ECOWAS member states to employ this well-articulated report for informed policy formulation, programming and monitoring of our interventions in the ECOWAS Sub Region for better outcome in our drug control efforts.”