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The burden of drug abuse in Nigeria: a scoping review of epidemiological studies and drug laws


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Jatau Abubakar, I, Shaaban, A, Gulma, KA, Shitu, Z, Khalid, GM, Isa, A, Wada, AS and Mustapha, M 2021 , 'The burden of drug abuse in Nigeria: a scoping review of epidemiological studies and drug laws' , BioMed Central Ltd., vol. 42 , doi: 10.3389/phrs.2021.1603960.

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Background: The burden of drug abuse is becoming a public health concern in Nigeria.Preventive measures should include identifying the root causes of the burden for targetedintervention. We, therefore, aim to conduct a scoping review of the literature to summarizethe findings of epidemiological studies on drug abuse and provisions of drug laws inNigeria. The review also provides appropriate recommendations as interventions forprevention.Methods: We conducted a systematic search of the literature on PubMed to identifyinformation on drug abuse and drug laws in Nigeria from the inception of the database toMarch 2020. Additional information was retrieved from Google Scholar, a manual search ofincluded articles, discussion with experts on the subject matter, and gray literature. Studyselection was performed using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews andMeta-Analyses (PRISMA) statements. Information from gray literature was assessed forquality and accuracy using the AACODS checklist (authority, accuracy, coverage,objectively, date, significance).Results: The systematic search of the literature generated 253 studies. Nine articles wereobtained from other sources. After the selection process, 23 eligible studies were includedfor review. A prevalence of 20–40% and 20.9% of drug abuse was reported amongstudents and youths, respectively. Commonly abused drugs include cannabis, cocaine,amphetamine, heroin, diazepam, codeine, cough syrup and tramadol. Sources whereabusers obtained drugs, were pharmacies/patent medicine shops, open drug markets,drug hawkers, fellow drug abusers, friends, and drug pushers. Drug abuse was commonamong undergraduates and secondary school students, youths, commercial bus drivers, farmers, and sex workers. Reason for use included to increase physical performance,stress and to derive pleasure. Poor socioeconomic factors and low educationalbackground were the common risk factors associated with drug abuse. We identifiedseveral drug laws and policies that were established under government agencies such asthe National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), National Agency for Foods andDrugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) and aPresidential Advisory Committee.Conclusion: Findings from epidemiological studies on drug abuse in Nigeria hasdemonstrated that the burden of drug abuse is still high despite the existing druglaws, policies, and strategies for prevention. Measures to reduce the burden shouldinvolve the community, government, and religious bodies. Preventive measures shouldtarget the youths, the students, identified sources of the drugs, reasons and risk factorsassociated with drug abuse in Nigeria.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Jatau Abubakar, I and Shaaban, A and Gulma, KA and Shitu, Z and Khalid, GM and Isa, A and Wada, AS and Mustapha, M
Keywords: drug abuse, cocaine, Nigeria, codeine, public health, reviews
Journal or Publication Title: BioMed Central Ltd.
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd
ISSN: 2107-6952
DOI / ID Number: 10.3389/phrs.2021.1603960
Copyright Information:

Copyright © 2021 Jatau, Sha’aban, Gulma, Shitu, Khalid, Isa, Wada and Mustapha. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License ( The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms

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