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NAFDAC stand against cannabis non-medical use

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By Usman Oladimeji

14.3m people between the ages of 15 and 64 consumed hard drugs in 2018.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has demonstrated a strong stance against the widespread usage of hard drug substances among the citizens of the country, which is more common among the youth. Prof. Christianah Adeyeye, Director-General of NAFDAC, made this clear in a statement stressing that Nigeria would not endorse the trend of cannabis legalization for non-medical usage. She believes the nation lacks the financial resources to combat the drug’s cultivation, manufacture, and illicit usage.

Recently, the agency has also unveiled the 2022 Annual Report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). Adeyeye, who spoke in Lagos during the unveiling of the INCB Annual Report, Availability Supplement, and Precursor Report for 2022, said that 14.3 million people (or 14.4 percent) between the ages of 15 and 64 consumed hard drugs in 2018. This statistic is considerably high in comparison with the 2016 global yearly prevalence of 5.6 percent among the adult population.

10.8 percent of the population had used cannabis in the previous year.

Prof. Adeyeye claimed that the health, social, and economic ramifications of the drug supply and consumption dilemma extend far beyond the individual drug user and into the household, the community, and the nation. Also, the research found that 10.8 percent of the population, or 10.6 million individuals, had used cannabis in the previous year, making it the most often used illicit substance. Statistics show that average first-time cannabis users are predominantly 19 years old.

In comparison to women, males consumed cannabis seven times higher (18.8 percent vs 2.6 percent), although the disparity in the recreational use of prescription opioids like tramadol is less pronounced. In spite of their need to alleviate pain and suffering, narcotics and psychotropic drugs are regulated under the auspices of three international agreements due to their potential for misuse and the dependency they breed in their users. The propensity for misuse and the need for the substance’s usage in medicine are taken into account when categorizing these drugs rather than their chemical composition.

NAFDAC’s mandate is to safeguard drugs’ legitimate use and consumption.

One of the control goals, as stated by Prof. Adeyeye, is to guarantee that the substance is only available for medicinal and scientific purposes while also reducing the likelihood of abuse of the drugs and its diversion to illicit means. NAFDAC’s mandate is to safeguard legitimate use and consumption while discouraging misuse and expanding access. Hence, better access to regulated medications is seen as the intended meaning of international drug control conventions, allowing nations to meet their drug requirements.

The agency, in collaboration with the Federal ministry of health, conducted two narcotic quantifications and estimations of psychotropic compounds and precursors in 2017 and 2019 to guarantee a steady supply of these medications. The NAFDAC director general has disclosed that these surveys provide a more accurate calculation of the country’s yearly demand for these substances. With this information, she said, the government can create efficient policies to strike the right balance between freedom of access and maintaining security.

INCB supports the prevention of illegal drug production and usage.

Retired Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa, Head of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), stated that the agency’s yearly worldwide launch serves to accommodate the specific requirements of each member state. Marwa, who was represented by Mrs. Victoria Egbase, said that INCB has collaborated with member states and international organizations throughout the years to accomplish the goals of the worldwide drug control treaties. Being one of four treaty-mandated entities under international drug control legislation, the INCB supports the prevention of illegal drug cultivation, production, and manufacturing, as well as unlawful drug trafficking and usage. However, the INCB has no direct enforcement powers and is only capable of monitoring and advising.

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NAFDAC: Website

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