NAFDAC rules out legalisation of cannabis for non-medical use
National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has ruled out the country’s support for legalisation of cannabis for non-medical use, insisting that Nigeria lacks the financial capacity to fight cultivation, production and illegal use of the substance.
Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Christianah Adeyeye Adeyeye, who stated this during the launch of the launch of the 2022 International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) Annual Report, Availability Supplement and Precursor Report for 2022 in Lagos, said the 2018 National Drug Use Survey revealed that the prevalence of any drug was 14.4 4 per cent or 14.3 million people using drugs between the ages of 15 and 64 years.
According to her, the figure is ‘comparatively high compared with the 2016 global annual prevalence of 5.6 per cent among the adult population.’
The NAFDAC boss noted that the challenges arising from drug supply and consumption were not restricted to people who use drugs but have wider health, social and economic consequences on the family, community and country.
“The report also revealed that cannabis is the most commonly used drug. An estimated 10.8 per cent of the population or 10.6 million people, had used cannabis in the past year. The average age of initiation of cannabis use among the general population was 19 years. Cannabis use was seven times higher among men (18.8 per cent among men vs. 2.6 per cent of women), while the gender gap in the non-medical use of pharmaceutical opioids (such as tramadol) was less marked.
“Consequently, Nigeria will not support the trend of legalisation of cannabis for non-medical use as our country lacks the financial capacity to fight cultivation, production and illegal use of the substance.
“Narcotics and Psychotropic substances are indispensable for the relief of pain and suffering and are controlled within the framework of the three international conventions as they possess abuse liability and produce dependence in users.”
According to her, they are classified not on chemical nature but on the potential for abuse and the need for medical use of the substance.
“One of the control objectives is to ensure availability solely for medical and scientific uses while minimizing the possibility of diversion to illicit channels and abuse.