United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
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UNODC: Women And Girls Are Among 1 In 4 Of Over 14.3Million Drug Users In Nigeria


According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Nigeria has over 14.3 million people who abuse drugs and 1 out of 4 in this population is either a woman or girl.

This development had been revealed as Nigeria, with the assistance and support of the European Union and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), had officially launched its first ever comprehensive national survey on drug use and health – Drug Use in Nigeria 2018.

The survey stated that only 1 in 20 people in treatment for using drug abuse, is a woman, and said that there is a generally acknowledged dearth of drug treatment services in Nigeria whereby the gap is even more disproportionate for female drug users who, for a myriad of unknown reasons, are unable to gain access to treatment as easily as their male counterparts.

The UNDOC had stated this during its partnership with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, on sensitising the Wives of Nigerian Governors on Drug Use, Treatment, Prevention and Care.

It was gathered that the members of the Nigerian Governors Wives Forum are at the forefront of advocating for improved access to drug prevention and treatment services in Nigeria.

In a further explanation, the UNODC stated that it was on the initiative of the First Lady of Nigeria, Hajia Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, that the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Drug Abuse, PACEDA, was first established in 2018 – which recommended a series of targeted interventions for elimination of drug abuse in Nigeria.

During the event, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa, the NDLEA Chairman/Chief Executive, had urged for the Forum to spearhead the establishment of State Drug Control Committees, SDCCs, in their respective States so as to facilitate the implementation of drug control responses at all levels of government and society.

Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, the Wife of the Vice President of Nigeria, had remarked that the sensitisation exercise would assist in enhancing the participants’ knowledge and skills in implementing appropriate drug control interventions in health and humanitarian crises, which is also the theme for this year’s 2022 World Drug Day. She stressed that we “all need to contribute our quota to the national drug control efforts.”

Oliver Stolpe, the UNODC Country Representative, had also urged for the Governors Wives not to lose sight of the public health crisis that is being caused by drug use and pointed out that what is currently being invested right now is nowhere near sufficient to cater for the needs of millions of persons living with a drug use dependency.

Therefore, he solicited their support for UNPLUGGED to be implemented in 27,000 public and private secondary schools across Nigeria, as well as for access to quality drug treatment for the millions of people, particularly women and girls, who are living with drug abuse disorders by building drug treatment facilities in all states, establishing drop-in centers in all LGAs, and training primary health care providers on basic drug treatment, counseling, and referral skills.

Ms. Zerzelidou, the EUD representative, made notice that the Governors Wives, with their influence, can pave the way for more initiatives on drug demand reduction.