International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

On December 1987 the UN General Assembly marked June 26 as an International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

This day was aimed at carrying out yearly worldwide campaigns on the risks associated with the use of illicit drugs in our society.

This years theme is better knowledge for better care and the aim is to eliminate all forms of misinformation about illicit drug use

According to United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), nearly 200 million people worldwide are involved in the use of the illicit drugs.

Examples include cocaine, cannabis, amphetamine-type stimulants, and opiates.

Drug Abuse

Drug abuse is the continuous use of drugs without prescription, neglecting the drug indication (medical use) and dose for the pleasure of it (feeling high).

This eventually leads to psychological dependence (not feeling mentally or physically stable when such drugs aren’t taken)

The continuous use of addictive drugs results to drug tolerance. in  this situation the individual involved requires a higher dose of the drug to get the initial effect of the drug.

Sadly, when he or she withdraws from the drug, withdrawal symptoms kick in. These makes the individual sick such that only taking the drug can make them feel better.

Illicit drugs are highly addictive drugs that have been prohibited by laws, because they change the way the brain processes emotions and regulates moods.

Illicit trafficking is an illegal global trade, which involves the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of drugs or substances prohibited by laws.

Commonly Abused Drugs in Nigeria

According to a 2018 survey of drug use in Nigeria by Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the most commonly abused drugs in Nigeria are:

  1. Cannabis,
  2. Tramadol (opiod)
  3. Codeine and dextromethorphan (in cough syrups).

Some of these drugs are commonly sold on the streets in disguise of some local mixtures such as “gutterwater and “monkeytail”.

These are frequently consumed by individuals who have little or no knowledge of the dangers of these drugs.

Harmful Effect of Cannabis

Cannabis popularly known as Igbo contains a psychoactive constituent, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Studies shows that the prolonged consumption of cannabis causes a syndrome known as Cannabinoid Hypermesis Syndromes (CHS).

This results in intense nausea and vomiting that cannot be relieved by taking anti-vomiting drugs. It has also been linked to severe complications resulting to death.

Common Myths of Illicit Drugs Use

  • They boost learning and reasoning.
  • The drugs help make a person more alert
  • They make a person strong and bold

Challenges of Controlling of Drug Abuse and Illicit trafficking in Nigeria

  • Limited availability of drug counseling and treatment services.
  • Poor drug regulation laws.
  • Poor enforcement of drug control policies and laws.

Ways to Confront Drug Abuse and Illicit trafficking in Nigeria

  • Enactment of strict drug regulation laws.
  • Enforcement of drug regulation laws.
  • Grassroots campaigns targeted at youths against drug abuse.
  • Proper counseling of school children and young adults.

Control of drug abuse and illicit trafficking should be a collective effort of all us.

Reporting  all suspects of illicit trafficking to the appropriate authorities is vital to preserve society

Nwaobilor Charles Chiemela
Pharmacist in Training, University Of Port Harcourt.