An approximately 14.3 million Nigerians are drug users, according to a survey conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
This is an estimated 14.4 per cent of Nigeria’s population in the age group of 15 – 64 years.
The report shows that the prevalence of drug use in Nigeria is more than twice the global average of 5.5 per cent.
This was disclosed yesterday by the representative of UNODC, Oliver Stoipe in his speech at the commemoration of the annual International Day against Drug Abuse and Trafficking during a schools’ competition against drug use in Abuja.
June 26 is a day set aside by the United Nations to create awareness on the menace of drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
On June 26 every year, the UNODC releases the World Drug Report to provide overview of the drug situation globally.
Represented at the event by Dr Femi Ajayi, the report noted that there are many more opioid users and people with drug use disorders than previously estimated globally.
He said that Nigeria’s opioid use has increased to 6.1million from a previous estimate of 2.2 million.
According to Stoipe, an estimated 4.7 per cent of the population, that is 4.6million people had used opioid such as tramadol, codeine, and morphine for non-medical purposes in the past year.
Meanwhile, a mental health organisation, Reconnect Health Development Initiative (HDI), has flagged off a Mathematics competition among students in the country to create awareness on drug abuse.
The founder/medical director, Reconnect HDI, Dr Vincent Udenze, said he wanted to get more creative and come up with a programme that will resonate with the younger generation.
He said, ” We conceptualized Additions Not Addictions, an interschool Mathematics competition for students from several schools to focus on what they can add to their lives, their families, their progress and success rather than situations that have a high likelihood of taking away or hindering the growth of their potential.
The mental health specialist said he hoped to reduce stigma associated with mental health and encourage people to support individuals suffering from mental illness.