AHAPN Abuja Branch Press Briefing in Commemoration of the 2020 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (World Drug Day)

Posted on: Sat 27-06-2020



Today is June 26th a day set aside globally to commemorate the campaign and raise awareness on the dangers of drug abuse and its illicit trafficking. This day is the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, also known as 'World Drug Day'.

This day is celebrated annually on 26th of June. We at the Abuja Branch of the Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN), being a body comprised of over 500 memberships of pharmacists working at Public and Private Health Institutions & organizations, (Hospitals, Clinics, Regulatory agencies) and Non-Governmental organizations in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja; have taken it upon ourselves as corporate social responsibility to Nigerians, to participate in community enlightenment, civic engagement and advocacy over the last three (3) years.

We have visited the Jabi Motor park in 2017, Wuse Market in 2018 and Government Secondary School Wuse Zone 3 in 2019, all on grassroots citizens awareness campaign on the dangers of drug abuse on the human individual especially the youths, family and the society at large.

This year 2020, the theme of World Drug Day is "Better Knowledge for Better Care" with the social media campaign hash tags “FactsForSolidarity”. In compliance with the extant public health guidelines and advisory due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are commemorating through the virtual platforms.

Firstly, with this press briefing and a score of our dedicated members have been scheduled to feature on various platforms such as television, radio and print media, recorded Podcast messages and Webinar sessions for Secondary schools. All these are for knowledge driven public enlightenment and sensitization to highlight the salient facts on the dangers of drug abuse to the Nigerian nation and to emphasize on the need for everybody from all homes, religious centres (mosques and churches), schools, markets and offices to join hands in this important fight against drug abuse in all its ramifications.

As the theme for this year states: “Better Knowledge for Better Care”, Pharmacists under the AHAPN Abuja Branch are stepping out once again to enlighten the general public in Abuja FCT and environs on available best options in curbing the scourge of drug abuse in the society. This we are happily doing at hospital and community pharmacies settings as experts on appropriate drug use and specialists on managing all the actual and potential drug related problems.

It is worthy to reiterate that the field of addressing the drug problem in Nigeria has been 'plagued' with numerous misinformations that do not tackle the situation. Therefore, this year's theme specifically aims at improving the understanding of the drug problem from the knowledge perspective backed by reliable evidential data on what the real picture is, as it impacts on Health, Economy and Security in Nigeria. Several studies have demonstrated direct linkages of the current increase in insecurity, violence and all manner of criminalities to high prevalence of drug abuse amongst youths in the country.

Records from the 2020 United Nation Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) World Drug Report show that some 35.9 million people suffer from drug use disorders globally, while adolescents and young adults account for the largest share of those using drugs. Also, of the 11 million people who inject drugs, half of them are living with Hepatitis C, and 1.4 million with HIV.

Here in Nigeria, the 2018 UNODC Drug Use in Nigeria Report revealed that one in seven persons aged 15-64 years had used a psychoactive substance (a drug other than tobacco and alcohol) for non-medical purposes in the past year 2017. 1 in 5 person who had used drugs in the past year is suffering from Drug Use Disorders. Cannabis is the most commonly used drug of abuse, with estimated 10.8 percent of the population had used it in the last year. The average age of initiation of cannabis use among the general population was 19 years. The situation is made worse with the account that an estimated 4.7% of the population had used opioids (such as tramadol, codeine or morphine) for nonmedical purposes in the past year. Also, the survey showed high rate of non-medical use of cough syrups containing codeine, tranquilizers, ecstasy, inhalants, amphetamines and cocaine, amongst many other substances and chemicals.

In conclusion, we once again use the platform to call on all good spirited Nigerians to join hands with Pharmacists and other health experts to understand the psychology of drug addiction. Then appeal to parents and guardians to dedicate more qualitative time to young adults for good mentoring and adequate parenting so as to nip at the bud any signs of drug misuse and abuse at homes and schools. Also, the victims of drug abuse are to be seen and treated as drug use disorders patients that require empathy and medical care. While, we strongly advocate that the full wrath of the state should be meted on the illicit drug merchants, dealers, hawkers, peddlers and traffickers abound in our communities under different guises.

Appropriate use of drugs is guaranteed when you always consult with your Pharmacist! Know more about drug abuse and care more for the victims. Let’s take responsibility and stay safe at all times. Together we can work towards impactful prevention and collectively build productive youths for our society.

Happy World Drug Day to all of us. 

Thank you and God bless.

Pharm. Abubakar Danraka, PhD, FPCPharm, MAW 

Chairman, AHAPN Abuja Branch