Sequel to the first ever, nationwide drug survey, it has been discovered that at least 14.3million people (about 14.4 per cent of the population) in Nigeria use drugs outside prescription. This survey showed that the rate of drug use in Nigeria in 2018 was twice more than the global average of 5.3 percent. As a matter of fact, this estimated number of drug users in Nigeria is higher than the entire population of some European countries.
Also, the survey reveals that drug use was most common among those who were between the ages of 15 and 64 years and out of every four drug users one of them was a woman. In addition, 1 in 5 people approximately 376,000 were high risk drug users of which about 80,000 were injecting themselves. It was also discovered that the majority of high risk drug users were regular users of opioids. For the purpose of this survey, high-risk drug users are defined as those who had used opioids, crack/cocaine or amphetamines in the past 12 months as well as those who had used them at least 5 times in the past thirty days.
In addition, these results also highlighted a massive increase in past-year use of cannabis (popularly called weed. Cannabis was the most commonly used drug followed by opioids which includes non-medical use of prescription opioids (mainly tramadol, codeine, or morphine) and cough syrups (containing codeine or dextromethorphan).
By geopolitical zones, there was a dichotomy in the past year prevalence of drug use between the Northern and Southern regions. The highest prevalence was found in the southern political zones: South-East, South-West, and South-South zones (past year prevalence ranging between 13.8 – 22.4 per cent of the population) compared to the North (ranging between 10 – 14.9 per cent of the population).
Below is a breakdown of the prevalence of drug use by geo-political zones in Nigeria.
Based on the research, past-year users of tranquilizers, heroin and methamphetamine were more likely to report chronic health conditions as compared with other drug users or the general population. Also, nearly one quarter of high-risk drug users had been arrested for a drug-related offence during the course of their drug use. The majority (73 per cent) had been arrested for possession of drugs, burglary, sex work, shoplifting and theft.
Presently, nearly 1 in 8 persons in the general population of Nigeria has experienced consequences due to other peoples’ drug use in their families, workplace and communities.
Source: National Bureau of Statistics