DRUG AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE POLL

Young Adults Aged 15 – 29 Years Old Are Most Known Abusers of Drugs & Substances.

Abuja, Nigeria. 21st June 2022 – A new public opinion poll conducted by NOIPolls has revealed that most abusers of drugs and substances in the country are young Nigerians aged between 15 and 29 years as stated by 88 percent of adult Nigerians interviewed. This figure leaves much to be desired as the menace of drug and substance abuse continue to ravage and destroy the lives of many youths. The Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Buba Marwa, lamented over the pervasive abuse of (cannabis) substance in the country, revealing that about 10.6 million Nigerians are actively abusing the substance.[1] He made this statement in 2021 in Abuja during the launch of War Against Drug Abuse in commemoration of the United Nations International Day against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.

More findings indicated that the most abused illicit drug or substances in Nigeria is marijuana, as cited by 41 percent of the respondents. This is followed by Codeine (22 percent) and Alcohol (17 percent) amongst other drugs and substances mentioned. Furthermore, when asked about the causes of drug and substance abuse, the top three causes cited are peer pressure and unemployment, both at 33 percent each, parental neglect (26 percent) and poverty (17 percent).

With regards to curbing this menace, while 41 percent recommended that jobs should be created to engage those involved in this act, 30 percent suggested that there should be awareness campaigns on the effect of drug and substance abuse. There is an urgent need to give young Nigerians evidence-based information on addiction and other drug-related harm, this will curtail drug experimentation and the growing culture of intoxication. Finally, the government and stakeholders involved in the fight against drug and substance abuse should expedite action and stamp out this menace to avoid the unwanted and unwarranted ravenous consequence on those involved in the abuse of drugs and substance.

These are key findings of the drug and substance abuse poll conducted on the week commencing 16th May 2022.

SURVEY BACKGROUND

On June 26th, the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking was commemorated. This day is set aside by the United Nations to recap the goals established by stakeholder states towards eradicating drug abuse and attaining an international society that is free of drug abuse. This is done mainly by creating awareness and educating youths and adults on the hazardous and social effects of substance abuse, and to guard against it. The theme for the 2022 commemoration was “Addressing drug challenges in health and humanitarian crises”.

Drug abuse is a menace that has derailed the lives of many people into oblivion and untimely death due to its adverse effects on the body. It has festered for such a long time and has continued to stamp its catastrophic effects on its users for such a long spell. Drug abuse is the use of illegal drugs, the use of prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs for purposes other than those for which they are meant to be used, or in excessive amounts. Drug abuse may lead to social, physical, emotional, and job-related problems.  Examples of drugs taken and abused include alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, methamphetamines, synthetic drugs, cocaine and non-medical use of prescription drugs.

According to world drug report by the United Nations office on Drugs and Crime, 275 million people used drugs worldwide while 36 million people suffered from drug use disorders.[2] The report further stated that in the last 24 years, cannabis potency had increased by as much as four times in different parts of the world. Additionally, in the last 10 years, the number of drug users has increased by 22 percent owing to global population growth. The report further stated that 5.5 percent of population aged 15 and 64 years have used drugs at least once, while 36.3 million people or 13 percent of the total number of persons who used drug, suffer different and adverse effects of drug use disorder. More so, in Nigeria, there are around 14.3 million drug users and 3 million of them suffer drug use disorder. It is further believed that globally, over 11 million people are estimated to inject drugs, half of whom are living with hepatitis C and opioids continue to account for the burden of disease attributed to drug use[3].

The factors that lead people into drug abuse include absence of social support, use of drugs amongst peers, socio-economic status, stress, and ability to cope with it. It also includes parental and familial involvement, history of abuse or neglect, and a history of compulsive behaviour. The risk factors of substance abuse include social pressure, adverse childhood experiences, use of drugs that are highly addictive, mental health problem as well and family history[4]. More so, the effect of drug abuse can be devastating, and it includes depression, anxiety, panic disorder, increased aggression, paranoia, and hallucination.[5] Against this backdrop, NOIPolls conducted its latest poll on drugs and substance abuse in Nigeria to explore the awareness of Nigerians regarding the most abused drugs and substance in Nigeria; the predominant age group of abusers; causes of drugs and substance abuse, as well as possible solutions.

Survey Findings

The first question sought to know the prevalence rate of drug and substance abuse, and the poll result revealed that 92 percent of adult Nigerians nationwide attest that drug and substance abuse is prevalent. On the other hand, 8 percent stated that drug and substance abuse is not prevalent.

The poll results also sought to know the opinion of Nigerians regarding the drug or substance that is mostly abused. The findings showed that 41 percent of the respondents stated that Marijuana is the most abused drug or substance and South-East region (51 percent) has the larger proportion of respondents who stated this. This is followed by 22 percent of the respondents who say codeine is mostly abused, and the North-West region (30 percent) had more respondents who made this assertion. Other drugs and substances cited include Alcohol (17 percent), prescription drugs (16 percent), tobacco (12 percent), tramadol (5 percent) and hard drugs (2 percent) amongst others.

Subsequently, insight on age-group revealed that those aged between 15 – 29 years accounted for the largest proportion (88 percent; (15 – 18 years) 40 percent + (19 – 29 years) 48 percent) of Nigerians associated with the abuse of various drugs and substances in the country.

Furthermore, the poll revealed that peer pressure and unemployment (33 percent each) are perceived as the main cause of drug and substance abuse in the country. This is followed by parental neglect and poverty, as mentioned by 26 percent and 17 percent of the respondents respectively. Other causes of drugs and substance abuse revealed from findings include ‘illiteracy’ (13 percent), ‘frustration’ (13 percent), and ‘self-pleasure’ (9 percent) amongst other causes.

Also, respondents were asked if they have a family member involved in drug and substance abuse, and the poll result revealed that 16 percent of the respondents stated that their family members are involved with alcohol abuse. Similarly, while 15 percent stated that their family members are involved in smoking marijuana, another 15 percent mentioned tobacco and 11 percent of the respondents also stated that their family members are involved in taking prescription drugs.

With regards to curbing this menace, 41 percent of the respondents suggested that jobs should be created, while 30 percent recommended that awareness on the effects of drug and substance abuse should be created. Other solutions proffered include ban of the sale of illegal drugs, and the need to enact and enforce strict legislation, both of which tied at 19 percent. 16 percent of respondents also stated that government should improve the economy.

Conclusion

In conclusion, findings from the poll have revealed that 92 percent of Nigerians admitted that there is a high prevalence of drugs and substance abuse in the country especially amongst teenagers and young adults aged between 15 and 29 years. The poll also indicated that the top three drugs or substances mostly abused are Marijuana, Codeine, and alcohol.

With regards to curbing this menace, while 41 percent recommended that jobs should be created to engage those engaged in this act, 30 percent suggested that an awareness on the effect drug and substance abuse will help curb the threat. There also is an urgent need to give young Nigerians evidence-based information on addiction and other drug-related harm. This will curtail drug experimentation and the growing culture of intoxication. Finally, government and stakeholders involve in the fight against drug and substance abuse should expedite action and stamp out this menace to avoid the unwanted and unwarranted ravenous consequence on those involved in the abuse of drugs and substance.

Survey Methods

The opinion poll was conducted in the week commencing May 16th, 2022. It involved telephone interviews of a proportionate nationwide sample of 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical regions and 36 states and the FCT of the country. Interviews were conducted in 5 languages – Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Pidgin English, and English. Although we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained were statistically precise – within a margin of error of plus or minus 4.65%; we recognize that the exclusive use of telephone polling has its limitation of excluding non-phone-owning Nigerians. Nonetheless, with the country’s tele density put over 100 percent by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), we consider our telephone polling approach appropriate. Also, given the rigorous scientific process of randomization and stratification applied, we can confidently stand by the validity of our methodology and approach.

NOIPolls Limited, No1 for country-specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com.

Disclaimer

This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as authors whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited, or published. NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect the views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact, or any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken because of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions, or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.

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[1] https://www.channelstv.com/2021/06/26/ndlea-boss-says-about-10-6million-nigerians-are-actively-abusing-cannabis/

[2] https://www.unodc.org/nigeria/en/unodc-world-drug-report-2021_-pandemic-effects-ramp-up-drug-risks–as-youth-underestimate-cannabis-dangers.html

[3] https://www.unodc.org/nigeria/en/unodc-world-drug-report-2021_-pandemic-effects-ramp-up-drug-risks–as-youth-underestimate-cannabis-dangers.html

[4] https://casapalmera.com/blog/what-causes-drug-addiction/

[5] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/effects-of-drug-abuse#short-term-effects