The number of drug users in Nigeria is estimated at 14.4% of the country’s population, more than twice the world average of 5.6%, according to the results of the first major official survey on the subject.

Lagos State holds an even higher record, with a prevalence rate of 33%, says the survey conducted with the collaboration of the European Union and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

In Nigeria, as in the rest of the world, the most abused drug remains cannabis. Opioids, especially tramadol, are the most used drugs, says UNODC. They are mostly consumed for “non-medical purposes”.

How was the study on drug users conducted?

About 14.3 million people aged 15-64 use drugs other than tobacco and alcohol in this most populous country in Africa. Data from the study were collected from approximately 50,000 people in the 37 states of the country, under the leadership of the Nigerian government.

Southwest is the region with the highest rate of drug use in Nigeria. About 22.4% of its population aged 15 to 64 had used drugs last year.

The report provides for the first time such detailed data on the prevalence of drug use in Nigeria, both nationally and regionally. “Some of the results of the survey presented today are striking and alarming,” Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said at the survey’s presentation.

The conclusions of this study call for “collective efforts to reduce the consequences of this growing threat on the health, the socio-economic situation and the security of our nation,” he adds, quoted by AFP.

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