While noting an increase in liver disease in the country due to drug abuse, the motion sponsor added that most families have at least one member, who abuses drugs.
The Senate has called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on the alarming rate of drug abuse in the country.
It also called on the National Agency for Food & Drug Administration & Control (NAFDAC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), and other agencies to organise a National summit to discuss the issues of drug abuse and come up with solutions for the future of Nigeria.
These resolutions followed the adoption of a motion on the “Urgent need to address the menace of drug abuse in Nigeria,” sponsored by Senator Babangida Hussaini Uba (APC, Jigawa North-West) on Tuesday during plenary.
In his lead debate, Senator Hussaini expressed concern over the current rise in drug abuse, which he said has reached an unprecedented level with an increased number of drug abusers and drug traffickers in the country.
He also stressed that an estimated $15,000 to $30,000 is spent on alcohol and psychotropic drugs yearly by a population of 30 to 35 million people.
The lawmaker noted that a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the European Union on drug use in Nigeria revealed that about 14.3 million Nigerians between the ages of 15 and 64 are drug abusers.
“The report stated that 10.6 million addicts were cannabis users, 4.6 addicts used pharmaceutical opioids and 238 thousand drug abusers used amphetamines.
“The report further revealed that the prevalence of drug use per geopolitical zone as far back as 2017 shows that the North-West zone accounted for 12% (3,000,000), North-East zone 13.6% (2,090,000), NorthCentral zone 10.0% (1,500,000), South-West zone 22.4% (4,382,000), South-South zone 16.6% (2,124,000), and the South-East zone 13.8% (1,550,000).
“The main drugs abused in Nigeria are mood-altering or psychoactive drugs, performance-enhancing drugs, dependency drugs, as well as prescription drugs, whose side effects include addiction, trauma, mental illness, and often times resulting in ill health, violence, and involvement in criminal activities.
“A significant number of deaths from accidents and violent crimes have been traced to the activities of persons under the influence of drugs especially the discovery of more dangerous substances called “Kurkura” in the North and “Umkpromiri” in the South.
Furthermore, Senator Hussaini noted an increase in liver disease in the country arising from widespread drug use, adding that it is a problem most families grapple with.
“Statistics show there is an increase in liver problems in the country due to the use of illegal drugs. Any family you go to, If they have 5 children it is very unlikely that one will not be a drug addict.
“Today, there are very cheap drugs that tend to make them high, and until we address these issues, not much will be achieved in our educational system and productivity in the country,” he submitted.
Speaking on the motion, the Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jibrin also urged that the effects of drug abuse should be included in school curricula to create awareness.
He said, “The future of every country lies in its youth and when you have something that is destroying your youth, it shows that your future is in jeopardy.
“This scourge is everywhere, even celebrities who are supposed to be role models, be exemplary, and show the way for others to follow are also into it. Politicians alike and indeed, all spheres of our life.
“The NDLEA is doing very well but the motion is a wake-up call for all those that have the responsibility for making sure that we deal with this matter to wake up and make sure that they do the needful in getting this matter dealt with properly.
“We must include this phenomenon in our school curriculum to begin to teach our children from the primary school level, the negative effects of drug abuse.
“Elsewhere, like in the United States, there are courses even in the universities that deal with abuse. We need to put that on the front burner in our higher institutions so that people will be aware of the harmful effects of drug abuse.
“It is a sad commentary on the way things are done in this country. Human capital is what drives a good economy and we have an abundance of population but we are allowing it to get destroyed through the intake of illicit drugs,” Barau added.
on his part, Senator Mohammed Onawo (PDP, Nasarawa North) highlighted the harm that a new drug known as “Zagami” has done to young people.
“There is a drug that they use now, I do not know the botanical name, but it is called zagami in my language. It should be listed among the most dangerous drugs in the country,” he stressed.
Other lawmakers who supported the motion include; Senators Sani Musa (PDP, Niger East), Mpigi Barinada (PDP, Rivers South-East), Ali Mohammed Ndume (APC, Borno South), Henry Seriake Dickson (PDP, Bayelsa West) and Saliu Mustapha (APC, Kwara Central).