35.9m people suffer from drug use disorders globally – UN

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By Felicia Imohimi

ABUJA – The United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) says in its 2020 report that more than 35.9 million people suffer from drug use disorders globally.

Mr Abubakar Danraka, Chairman, Abuja Branch of the Association of Hospital Administration Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN), quoted UNODC as reporting.

Danraka made this known in a statement, commemorating the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Abuja on Saturday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the Day, also known as “World Drug Day”, commemorated annually on June 26, has as its 2020 theme as “Better Knowledge for Better Care”.

The social media campaign hash tags for the Day is “#FactsForSolidarity”.

The day is set aside globally to commemorate the campaign and raise awareness on the dangers of drug abuse and its illicit trafficking.

Danraka, quoting UNODC latest report, said that adolescents and young adults account for the largest share of those using drugs.

According to him, of the 11 million people, who inject drugs, half of them are living with Hepatitis C, and 1.4 million with HIV.

“In Nigeria, the 2018 UNODC Drug Use in Nigeria report revealed that one in seven persons aged 15 to 64 years had used a psychoactive substance (a drug other than tobacco and alcohol) for non-medical purposes in 2017.

“One in five persons, who had used drugs in the past year, is suffering from drug use disorders.

“Cannabis is the most commonly used drug of abuse, with estimated 10.8 per cent of the population having used it in the last year.

“The average age of initiation of cannabis use among the general population was 19 years.

“The situation is made worse with the account that an estimated 4.7 per cent of the population had used opioids (such as tramadol, codeine or morphine) for non-medical purposes in the past year.

“Also, the survey showed a high rate of non-medical use of cough syrups containing codeine, tranquilisers, ecstasy, inhalants, amphetamines and cocaine among many other substances and chemicals,’’ he noted.

The chairman, however, appealed to parents and guardians to dedicate more qualitative time to young adults for good mentoring and adequate parenting so as to nip in the bud any signs of drug misuse and abuse at homes and schools.

Danraka further noted that victims of drug abuse should be seen and treated as drug use disorder patients that require empathy and medical care.

He advocated that full wrath of the state should be meted on the illicit drug merchants, dealers, hawkers, peddlers and traffickers abound in our communities under different guises.

“Appropriate use of drugs is guaranteed when you always consult with your pharmacist.

“Know more about drug abuse and care more for the victims.

“Let’s take responsibility and stay safe at all times.

“Together we can work toward impactful prevention and collectively build productive youths for our society,’’ he noted.

Speaking on the theme, Danraka said that the field of addressing drug problem in Nigeria has been ‘plagued’ with numerous misinformation that does not tackle the situation.

He said that this year’s theme was specifically aims at improving the understanding of the drug problem from the knowledge perspective, backed by reliable evidential data on what the real picture is.

According to him, it impacts on health, economy and security in Nigeria.

“Several studies have demonstrated direct linkages of the current increase in insecurity, violence and all manner of criminalities to high prevalence of drug abuse amongst youths in the country.’’ (NAN)

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