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9 Things You Should Know About Substance Abuse in Nigeria

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By Amina Ibrahim

May 22, 2020

According to data from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics in 2019
  1. Nearly 15% of the adult population in Nigeria (around 14.3 million people) reported a “considerable level” of use of psychoactive drug substances—much higher than the 2016 global average of 5.6% among adults.
  2. 1 in every 7 persons aged 15-64 years has used a drug (other than tobacco and alcohol) in the past year. 
  3. The highest levels of any past-year drug use were among those aged 25-39 years.
  4. Of this 14.3m people, an estimated 376,000 were estimated to be high-risk drug users. The majority of high-risk drug users were regular users of opioids.(such as codeine, morphine tramadol)
  5. 1 in 5 high-risk drug users injects drugs.
  6. 50% of drug users reported using more than one drug at the same time in the past year.
  7. Two-thirds of people who used drugs reported having serious problems, as result of their drug use, such as missing school or work, doing a poor job at work/school or neglecting their family or children.
  8. 1 in 5 persons who have used drugs in the past year is suffering from drug use disorders.
  9. Nearly 40% of high-risk drug users indicated a need for treatment of drug use disorders but stated it was difficult to access drug treatment. Cost of treatment and stigma attached to drug use and seeking treatment were cited as the primary barriers in accessing drug treatment services.

During our last #TalktoaDrwithFirstMedtrade Instagram live session, our guest Sandra Anyahaebi. Sandra is a Psychologist and the founder of Psychebabble Foundation, a non-governmental organization dedicated to raise awareness for mental health and provide mental health services. She is also a National Trainer on the Universal Prevention Curriculum for Substance Use (UPC) Implementer Series developed by UNODC (United Nations Office on drugs and crime).

Here a few anonymous questions Sandra answered about substance abuse during our Instagram live session below; 

Question 1: What is the difference between drugs and medication? I've heard people talk about them like there's a real difference.
Sandra: A drug is any substance (except food and water) that when taken affects the body function and alters the physical or mental state. Drugs may be legal(alcohol or illegal like cannabis in some countries) WHILE a medication is a term for drugs that are used to cure mitigate or treat a disease. So all medications are drugs but not all drugs are medications.

Question 2: What is the effect of drug abuse on women seeking to get pregnant?
Sandra: Like the question says, anything of abuse does not really have a positive influence, now does it? Women are generally more vulnerable to long term physical effects of drugs, this is due to various reasons. Drugs can harm the reproductive system and impact women in so many ways such as changes in the menstrual cycle, fertility (A study once showed that women who are heavy alcohol users are more likely to experience fertility problems)

Question 3: I like to drink a glass of wine every day after work, am I abusing alcohol
Sandra: Having a drink or 2 is not an absolute indication that you're abusing alcohol, however the question you need to be asking is if I don't take this drink will there be any changes that I may experience?

Question 4: Is Sandra really a professional in the drug abuse field?
Sandra: Well yes, I have been trained as a National trainer on the UniversalPreventionCurriculum(UPC)for Substance Use Disorders

Question 5: How do you help someone overcome drug challenges?
Sandra: So, seeing that you can't literally take away drugs from someone who uses it, it is best to try especially for kids to delay the age of initiation(i.e. when they first start taking any form of drugs be it, alcohol)and also for persons who have developed an addiction, encourage them to seek help.

Follow us on Instagram on @FirstMedtrade, so you do not miss our next #TalktoaDronFirstMedtrade session via Instagram live.

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