By Ibironke Ariyo
Abuja, Sept. 14, 2021
The Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), retired Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa says the use of credible data is essential in the fight against drug abuse.
Marwa said this at the inauguration of the “West African Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (WENDU) Report of Statistics and Trends’’ on illicit drug use and supply 2018-2019 on Tuesday in Abuja.
This is contained in a statement issued by the NDLEA spokesperson, Mr. Femi Babafemi.
According to Marwa, Nigerians are prepared to continue to provide credible data to sustain the fight against drug abuse.
He lamented that the number of people using illicit drugs in Africa might rise by 40 per cent by 2030.
According to him, the misuse of psychoactive substances such as alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and 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 and 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,’’ he said.
The NDLEA boss said according to the World Drug Report 2020, an estimated 269 million people representing 5.3 per cent of the global population was reported to have used drugs in 2018.
This he said was against 210 million in 2009 representing 4.8 per cent.
“The West Africa Sub Region is in the limelight at the international scene, because of its role as a transit hub for cocaine from South America, heroin from East Asia to Europe and 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 per cent around the world and as much as 40 per cent in Africa alone,’’ he said.
Marwa said that the role of credible data in addressing the world drug problem could not be over emphasised.
He added that West African states, just like the rest of Africa, had been grappling with the problem of dearth of credible data on the trend of drug use in the sub region.
He assured that Nigeria would continue to play its role to support the sustainability of WENDU.
This, he said would be achieved 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 Sub Region for better outcome in our drug control efforts.