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World Drug Day: Nigeria’s war on drugs is hindered by the emergence of new varieties of illicit drugs

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Nigeria has joined the growing trend of recreational drug use that is quickly taking over Europe. Nigeria’s anti-drug initiatives are made more difficult by the expanding accessibility, low cost, and variety of hard drug options.

More people than ever can now obtain drugs, including illegal drugs, thanks to the internet and social media, which has led to an increase in the number of Nigerian youths caught in a web of substance abuse and the life-threatening risks that follow.

In an effort to find the promise of fleeting pleasure, detachment from reality, and the feeling of euphoria, youths now spice up social gatherings by injecting the substance into balloons, oblivious to the potential for psychological harm.

On Monday, the world will observe the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, or World Drug Day. Analysts are concerned that if Nigeria experiences a similar high prevalence rate to that of Europe, the country may struggle greatly to control the consequences.

Long-term nerve damage may result from this. Olusina Ajidahun, chief executive officer of Lifebox Labs and a public health expert, said this is a type of gas classified as a neurotoxic gas, which is harmful to your neurological health, during an interactive session of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency to mark World Drug Day. 

Low blood levels may also result. As a result of its attack on vitamin B12, the body will be unable to create the necessary red blood cells.

According to Druglink, a platform for advocating against substance abuse, effects from a single inhalation will start almost immediately, peak 10 to 20 seconds after inhalation, and then quickly fade.

If the dose is taken again, the effects will plateau between 30 and 60 seconds after the initial breath. Some users claim that effects, such as a sense of well-being, can be felt for up to 30 minutes after the last use, even though the user typically feels back to normal in about two minutes after the last inhalation.

People frequently use nitrous oxide repeatedly overa short period of time because its effects are enjoyable but fleeting; users frequently take numerous nitrous oxide “hits” over a brief period of time; users frequently consume many nitrous oxide “hits” over a few hours.

Dizziness, euphoria, giggles and laughter, sound distortion, hallucinogenic effects, dissociation, loss of balance, nausea, and headaches are just a few of its side effects.

Cannabis, heroin, pharmaceutical opioids, stimulants like amphetamines, cocaine, non-medical use of over-the-counter drugs, solvents or inhalants, tobacco use, and alcohol use are just a few of the substances that Nigeria struggles to control. According to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), 14.4% of Nigerians between the ages of 15 and 64 reported using drugs in 2017. This equates to 14.3 million people.

In Nigeria, men had a higher overall prevalence of psychoactive substance use than women did, excluding alcohol. The majority of drug users were between the ages of 25 and 39, and cannabis was the most popular drug.Opioids, particularly the non-medical use of prescription opioids and cough syrup, were the next most popular drug.

While the majority (73 percent) of high-risk drug users had been detained for drug possession, many of them had also been detained for burglary, sex work, shoplifting, and theft. Nearly one-fourth of high-risk drug users had been detained for a drug-related offense during the course of their drug use.

A bill for an Act to establish and regulate mental health and substance abuse services, protect people with mental health needs, and establish the National Commission for Mental and Substance Abuse Services for the effective management of mental health was signed into law in Nigeria in January.

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