World Drug Report 2019 has put drug use prevalence in Nigeria at 14.4 percent of the population, representing 14.4 million Nigerians aged 15 to 64 years.
This was revealed on Thursday in Kaduna by registrar of the Pharmarcists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Elisha Mohammed, when critical stakeholders gathered to brainstorm on alarming statistics on drug use prevalence in Nigeria and the way forward.
Mohammed said curiosity and peer pressure were major factors pushing people especially school children and young persons into non-medical drug use.
News Agency of Nigeria reported that the seminar was on drugs and substances abuse in Northwest 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.
Mohammed said the Council was pained by the development, as it affected the country’s productive population.
Speaking on the topic: Curbing the menace of drug abuse through information, education and communication, Prof. Oluwatoyin Odeku said illicit drugs use should be of serious concern to all Nigerians.
According to her, the use of illicit drugs have led to brain damage which is quite expensive to manage at rehabilitation centres.
She appealed passionately to children steer clear of drug abuse, warning that it truncates life.
“You have a great future. God has deposited a lot of potentials in you. Drug abuse affect the way your body performs. It affect 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 depressed. They look unkept. They engage in strange behaviour.
“The issue of drug abuse is a a big problem in Nigeria and all of us must come together to come up with the way forward”, she said.
Daniel Omokachi, a former football star, in an interview with newsmen 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.