Written by Williams ABAH

FG launches first report on national drug use

The federal government has launched the first report on National Survey on Drug Use and Health. 

With the launch, the survey would provide baseline information needed for the design and implementation of effective prevention, treatment and care services that are evidence based towards reducing the demand for drugs and preventing morbidity and mortality attributed to drug use in Nigeria. 

Speaking at the launch held in Abuja, the Minister of State, for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said that there were serious health issues that required that the drug demand reduction strategies with focus on evidence based drug use prevention, treatment and care be strengthened.  

He explained that the report would provide an opportunity for findings from this survey to be fed into the 4th edition being proposed to set the priorities for drug control in Nigeria from 2020- 2024.

Ehanire added that the results and data set from the survey could also be used for further research work to develop targeted programmes and services for drug users and their families.

The minister informed that the Federal Ministry of Health, had established a Drug Demand Reduction Unit under the Department of Food and Drugs Services as part of its efforts to coordinate and implement strategies that would lead to evidence based drug prevention, treatment and care. Commissioning the unit earlier,

Ehanire noted that the decision to establish the unit was in line with statutory mandate of the Federal Ministry of Health, to protect and promote the health of Nigerians including persons with drug problems.

He pointed out that the unit was equipped by European Union, EU, funded project Response to Drugs and Related Organized Crime being implemented by the United Nation Office on Drug and Crime, UNODC.

He also said that Ministry of Health, had upgraded 11 hospitals to Model Drug Treatment Centres across the six geo- political zones of the country with the support of EU and UNODC. 

He added that with the support of UNODC, over 1200 healthcare practitioners have been trained across the country on provision of evidence based drug treatment services between 2015 and 2018, with 25 certified as National Master Trainers on treatment modules and universal treatment curriculum.

In her welcome address, the Director, Division of Operations, UNODC, Ms. Kato Miwu, said that the UNODC would continue in its effort towards employing a balanced approach to drug control and increase access to drug treatment services across the nation. 

In her presentation on the overview of the survey, the Chief, Research and Trend Analysis Branch, UNODC, Ms. Angela Mea, said that based on data collected from 38,850 respondents in the household survey and 9,344 high risk drug users across all states of the country the report provides for the first time, robust data on the prevalence of drug use in Nigeria.

 

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