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UN Drug Body: 90% of Global Tramadol Seizures in Past Five Years Have Been in Africa

UN Drug Body: 90% of Global Tramadol Seizures in Past Five Years Have Been in Africa

Premium Times, Abuja, Nigera

28 June 2024 at 07:00:00

The UNODC reports that Africa is facing an alarming increase in ‘dangerous drug cocktails’, with youngsters most susceptible to this growing trend. This is highlighted by news that almost all global seizures of tramadol – an opioid analgesic used in most of these cocktails – occur the region.

This report from The Premium Times, published on 26 June 2024.


Abuja — The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), has disclosed that 90 per cent of tramadol seized globally in the past five years occurred in Africa, predominantly in the West African sub-region.


This disclosure was made by the UNODC Country Representative in Nigeria, Oliver Stolpe who spoke yesterday at the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking with the theme, "Invest in Prevention".


The event was organised by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in collaboration with the UNODC and the MTN Foundation, in Abuja.


READ: Cannabis consumption is rising faster in Africa than anywhere else, and so is the use of dangerous new drug 'cocktails'


Stolpe stated that the African continent remains a major transit point, urging Nigeria to invest more on prevention and make healthcare more accessible.


Speaking on UNODC's 2024 drug report, he said: "More than 90 per cent of tramadol seizures over the past five years worldwide was seized in Africa, predominantly West Africa.


"To reduce the incidences here; Nigeria needs to invest more in prevention with some concentration in youths and women".


He advised the government to include all public and private secondary schools in its programmes against drug abuse.


"The programme should be for all government and private secondary schools and out of school children. We need to sensitise people on the ability to recognise drug use sufferers and help them. And the health sector needs response, require fundamental upgrade because access remains a major challenge,


"UNODC 2024 drug report published today shows that 292 million or 5.6 per cent of the world population aged between 15 and 64 used drugs in the past year. That's 20 per cent increase over the past 10 years. While cannabis remains the main drug used and trafficked in Africa, with West Africa as one of the major entry point in Africa.


"The continent continues to be used as a transit area for drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Drugs trafficked to Africa continue to penetrate the local market, and is adding to the health challenges already faced by the nations where cannabis is used.


"Tramadol used medically is illicitly manufactured and it's being used illicitly more than the one medically manufactured," he said.


Chairman/CEO of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Marwa (rtd ), in his remarks said the agency's passion for prevention was due to evidence-based results.


"The imperative to invest in prevention is dictated by evidence-based results that have shown that prevention is far more cost-effective than dealing with the consequences of drug use disorder, because, after all, prevention is better than cure.


"At NDLEA, drug use prevention lies at the heart of our strategy in addressing the drug problem as it is far more effective and cost-efficient to prevent drug abuse than to deal with its consequences.


" As part of the reforms being undertaken in the agency in the last three years, with the support of the federal government and various stakeholders, we have invested in prevention programmes.


"The magnitude of our effort is reflected in the statistics of our drug supply reduction activities. We have arrested 52, 901 drug traffickers, including 48 barons, in three and half years.


"Over 9, 000 of the suspects have been convicted in court. We have also seized over the same periods, 7.6 million kilogrammes of assorted illicit substances," Marwa said.


Chairman, MTN Foundation, Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, said MTN had been assisting the government in different areas of development across the country.


"In the past 20 years, the foundation has expended N30 billion in different programmes and projects.


"MTN Foundation is 20 years this year and right from the start, we made up our mind that Nigeria as a government cannot satisfy needs of all Nigerians and therefore well meaning Nigerians and corporate bodies should get to see how they can assist.


"In view of that, the MTN has made tremendous impact in areas of education, health, economic empowerment, and some other special projects.


"We did our research and found out that as long as the younger generation does not have something to do , something to love, and something to hope for, they will be subject to negative distraction. And one of these distractions we identified as substance abuse.


"That is why we started Anti-Substance Abuse Programme (ASAP). In the area of advocacy we've done a programme in schools across the nation for 6,400 students and over 1,400 teachers in 140 public schools. And the programme was done in twelve states," he said.

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