In commemoration of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking 2020

Theme: “Better Knowledge: Better Care”

The theme for the 2020 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking “Better Knowledge for Better Care” emphasizes the need to improve the understanding of the world drug problem and how in turn, better knowledge will foster greater international cooperation for countering its impact on health.

Following the United Nations General Assembly’s Resolution 42/112 of 7 December 1987, June 26 each year has been observed as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse. In Nigeria nearly 15 percent of adult population has been reported to use psychoactive drug substances.

Drug abuse is a public health as well as a social problem. The abuse of drugs and psychoactive substances among adolescents and adults is an issue of global concern, partly because of its potential to contribute to inadvertent and deliberate injury.

Drug abuse impedes the development of any society and is a threat to life, health, dignity and prosperity of all individuals, communities and governments.

While the problem of drug abuse knows no boundaries or social class, persons that abuse drugs have a higher prevalence of psychosocial problems and disorders depending on the type of substance abused and the degree of involvement.

The questions still for discuss are have government and stakeholders done enough to provide information and care about drug abuse, or is it a case of putting the cart before the horse?

Shouldn’t tackling of the drug problem go beyond enforcement and punishing of users of illicit substances through information dissemination and education?

Even so, it is imperative to analyze what the debate is. Is drug abuse a Legal, Health or a Social problem? If it is all three, have the current approach to addressing the menace been effective?

The association between mental health and substance abuse is widely reported, hence the need for periodic screening and evaluation using drug test kit.

The financial health care burden drug abuse places on the Gross Domestic Product of a country is alarming as it is a phenomenon that extends across socioeconomic, cultural, religious and ethnic boundaries.

It is heartwarming that the theme of this years’ World Drug Day is “Better Knowledge for Better Care” as partners Reconnect Health Development Initiative (RHDI) and African Council on Narcotics (ACON) are urging the government to;

  • Invest more in new mechanism that can help in tackling the increasing cases of drugs and substance abuse among the Nigerian youth
  • Furnish-up drug abuse rehabilitation centers at all major referral hospitals
  • Ensure drug test kits are available and accessible
  • Establish partnerships with organizations and civil society to disseminate information and promote the health of the population.
  • Introduce yearly certification for testing of early risk factors for substance abuse among young people.
  • Introduce drug abuse education in the curricula for primary and secondary schools throughout Nigeria.
  • Step-up the fight against corruption as part of the mechanism for illicit drug interdiction.
  • Separate Drug Demand Reduction (DDR) from NDLEA as a primary function which should be vested on another agency.
  • Commission comprehensive national survey on substance abuse and mental health issues in Nigeria.
  • Improve the funding for the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and other official and non-governmental organization involved in the fight against drug abuse and illicit trafficking.


Rekpene Bassey

President, African Council on Narcotics

Dr. Dayyabah Shaibu

Country DirectorNigeria Reconnect Health Development Initiatives (RHDI) Nigeria

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