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Nigeria, Africa to witness rise of drug abuse among youths – UNODC

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has raised an alarm that Nigeria and some African countries would witness 40% rise in the…

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has raised an alarm that Nigeria and some African countries would witness 40% rise in the population of drug users especially the youth population if urgent measures are not taken.

The UNODC Country Deputy Representative, Mr. Danilo Campisi, raised the alarm at a press conference in Abuja, on Wednesday.

The conference was to kick off  week-long activities to celebrate the 2024 International Day Against Drugs and Illicit Trafficking, organised by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in conjunction with other stakeholders like the UNODC.

He urged the government at all levels and other stakeholders in Nigeria to invest in drug use preventive measures to avoid a 40% rise in the population of drug users in the country especially the youth population.

“Projections show that by 2030, there will be a 40% increase in the use of drugs in Africa, based on the population of young people. This is extremely concerning, if we consider that 2030 is only six years away.”

“We are all familiar with the saying: ‘prevention is better than cure’ and considering the data and projections, it has become even more critical for Nigeria to invest heavily in drug use preventive measures.

“I do not think it would be an exaggeration to describe this as a national emergency. If the country is to take on the challenge of this projected increase in drug use, it is imperative that it adopts scientific evidence-based approaches that prioritise prevention and treatment,” Campisi said.

He said UNODC has worked with the government of Nigeria to adapt and implement evidence-based prevention measures which include the highly successful UNPLUGGED, a school-based Drug Prevention Programme implemented together with the Federal Ministry of Education, in 110 Unity Schools and in a few states in the country, notably Kebbi, Bayelsa and recently, Kaduna, on the initiative of the state governments in these states.”

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