Abuja—The Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Prof. Christianah Adeyeye has said Nigeria will not support the trend of legalisation of cannabis for non-medical use as the country lacks the financial capacity to fight cultivation, production and illegal use of the substance.
The Vanguard reports that the agency has also launched the 2022 Annual Report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).
Speaking during the launch of the INCB Annual Report, Availability Supplement and Precursor Report for 2022 in Lagos, Adeyeye said the 2018 National Drug Use Survey revealed that the prevalence of any drug was 14.4 4 per cent or 14.3 million people using drugs between the ages of 15 and 64 years.
She pointed out that it is comparatively high compared with the 2016 global annual prevalence of 5.6 per cent among the adult population.
She said the challenges arising from drug supply and consumption were not restricted to people who use drugs but have wider health, social and economic consequences on the family, community and country.
She said: “The report also revealed that cannabis is the most commonly used drug. An estimated 10.8 per cent of the population or 10.6 million people, had used cannabis in the past year. The average age of initiation of cannabis use among the general population was 19 years. Cannabis use was seven times higher among men (18.8 per cent among men vs. 2.6 per cent of women), while the gender gap in the non-medical use of pharmaceutical opioids (such as tramadol) was less marked.
“Consequently, Nigeria will not support the trend of legalization of cannabis for non-medical use as our country lacks the financial capacity to fight cultivation, production and illegal use of the substance.
“Narcotics and Psychotropic substances are indispensable for the relief of pain and suffering and are controlled within the framework of the three international conventions as they possess abuse liability and produce dependence in users. They are classified not on chemical nature but on the potential for abuse and the need for medical use of the substance.
“One of the control objectives is to ensure availability solely for medical and scientific uses while minimizing the possibility of diversion to illicit channels and abuse. The policy thrust of NAFDAC is to ensure availability, access and rational use while preventing illicit use and abuse. The international drug control conventions are thus interpreted to mean improved access to controlled medicines to enable countries to meet their drug needs.
“In order to ensure adequate availability of controlled medicines, the agency in conjunction with the Federal ministry of health carried out two quantifications of narcotics and estimation of psychotropic substances and precursors in 2017 and 2019.
“The results of these surveys provide the evidence-based estimation of our national annual requirements of these substances and enable the country to develop measures to achieve that delicate balance between access and control,” she said.
Speaking, the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, retired Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa said that the annual global launch is aimed at making adjustments and filling with member state needs as appropriate.
Marwa who was represented by Mrs. Victoria Egbase said that INCB had over the years joined forces with member states and international organizations towards achieving the objectives of the international drug control conventions.