14.4 million Nigerians engaged in illicit drug use

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The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) said the statistics on drug use in Nigeria is alarming saying that 14.4 million Nigerians are currently engaged in illicit drug use.

The PCN gathered critical stakeholders in Kaduna to brainstorm on alarming statistics on drug use prevalence in Nigeria and the way forward.

The Registrar, PCN, Elisha Mohammed, said, curiosity and peer pressure were major factors pushing people especially school children and young persons into non-medical drug use.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports the seminar was on drugs and substances abuse in North-west organised by the PCN and Codeine Control and other Related Matters Working Group.

It was to provide a platform of interaction to increase awareness on effects of illicit drugs in the zone.

According to Mohammed, the World Drug Report 2019, has put drug use prevalence in Nigeria at 14.4 per cent, “representing 14.4 million Nigerians aged 15 to 64 years”.

He said that the figure was comparatively higher than the global prevalence rate.

Mohammed said the Council was pained by the development, as it affected the country’s productive population.

Speaking on the topic: “Curbing the manace of drug abuse through information, education and communication,” Oluwatoyin Odeku said illicit drugs use should be of serious concern to all Nigerians.

According to her, the use of illicit drugs has led to brain damage which is quite expensive to manage at rehabilitation centres.

“Drug abuse kills. Drug abuse truncates future. Children please don’t be involved in drug abuse.

“You have a great future. God has deposited a lot of potentials in you. Drug abuse affects the way your body performs. It affects important part of your body.

“It changes your brain chemistry. It takes control of your brain because it has affected the brain, some will become repressive or depressive. They look unkept. They engage in strange behaviour.

“The issue of drug abuse is a big problem in Nigeria and all of us must come together to come up with the way forward.

“There should be surveillance on emerging drugs whereby the government will be strategically positioned to know about the emerging drugs with a view to nip it in the bud early enough,” she urged.

Meanwhile, Daniel Omokachi, a former football star, in an interview with reporters shortly after the event, said there was need to sensitise young Nigerians on the implications of drug abuse.

Omokachi said sports should be used to take the youth away from drugs and other social vices.

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