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By Lawrence Duya, Abuja-Nigeria

As the world prepares to mark 2021 World Drug Day, the critical stakeholders have once more drawn the attention of the world, and in particular African nations, to the danger posed by acts relating to drug abuse.

At a programme organised in Abuja by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC the scary data was reeled out.

The program which was held at the Ogun/Nasarawa Hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja on Thursday was themed “Share Life, Saves Life.”

The Country Director, UNODC, Mr. Oliver Stolpe, said that cannabis is increasingly harmful but many young people think otherwise.

According to Mr. Oliver Stolpe,” the number of drug users in Africa is projected to rise by 40% by 2030 while the figure in Europe and America is decreasing.”

The UNODC Country Director mentioned the effects of COVID-19 on drug use and trafficking.
The positive impact was that people could not hold physical meeting thereby reducing physical contacts where drug is being trafficked. But the negative impact was in areas like large shipment, increase use of private aircraft, rise in the use of waterway routes, and other contactless methods of delivering drugs to end consumers.

Also COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the factors that fuel the vicious cycle of social-economic vulnerability and drug disorders.

Dr. Musa Umar, Director, Narcotics and Controlled Substances, NAFDAC, said that pain killers are available in countries like the USA and Canada which is just about 17% of the world population. The larger population of the world which resides in countries like Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean are left with few of these drugs.

Prof. Isidore Obot, Director, Center for Research and Information on Substance Abuse, assured that the sources of the data presented are reliable and verifiable. He encouraged the formulation of legal frameworks to help achieve this goal.

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