Drug Abuse in Nigeria: Causes, Effects, Solutions of drug abuse on youths in Nigeria

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Drug/Substance abuse according to the World Health Organization (WHO) refers to the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances (these are substances which affects the mind, mood or other mental processes in the body), including alcohol or other illicit drugs. 

Globally, drug abuse has emanated into a major public health issue facing nations and individuals all around the world and is especially rampant among the young population, the youths. 

The resultants of complicating these substances originally aimed for medicinal purpose leads to grave consequences for both the partakers as well as those around them, acts such as sexual molestation, paranormal and unsocietal behaviors, personality disorders, drug dependence and other myriads of malicious traits are the effects of drug abuse on these individuals.

In Nigeria, the rate at which drug and drug abuse is rapidly becoming an issue is increasingly alarming and should be disturbing to both the government as well as the concerned citizenry.
While for some of the partakers in this denigratory act, it’s for the fun of the moment or to feel among when with friends and peers, for others it’s to find themselves in some place they tag – a place of reasoning and some to take them higher than their worries as they are able to escape emotional pains or perturbation they might be passing through while being high on life.


Statistics of Drugs Addiction in Nigeria

Drug Addiction is basically an addiction to any drug (especially a narcotic one)

A report made in 2018 by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Center for Research and Information on Substance Abuse with technical support from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and funding from the European Union noted that nearly 15% of the adult population in Nigeria which amounts to around 14.3 million individuals reported a “considerable level” of usage of psychoactive drug substances—a rate much higher than the 2016 global average of 5.6% among adults.

It showed the highest levels of drug use was recorded among people aged between 25 to 39, with cannabis being the most widely used drug. Sedatives, heroin, cocaine and the non-medical use of prescription opioids were also noted. The survey excluded the use of tobacco and alcohol.

Even at parties nowadays, so many people are usually seen at the back with drinks at hand but those are not your normal Coca-Cola or Fanta, they’ve been mixed with drugs for whatever reason intended. Another fairly popular invention of these processes is “gutter water” a widely consumed cocktail of drugs, is a mix of codeine, tramadol, rohypnol, cannabis and water or juice.

It has even gotten to the extent where some have turned to much more traditional and outlandish methods as alternatives such as smoking lizard parts and dung as well as sniffing glue, petrol, sewage and urine as inhalants.

Reasons Why People in Nigeria Take Drugs or Get Involved in Drug Abuse 

Peer influence

This is the most prevalent reason why many youths in Nigeria are goaded into the act of drug and substance abuse. Since so many do not have the esteem to hold onto their values and personal beliefs, they get persuaded by their peers on social media, at school, at home or just on the streets – heavy takers and those who they (the innocent youths) think they are able to get high on life and are initiated into becoming partakers of this act.

Media Influence

The influence of what we see on T.V, social media etc. and what is shared to us casually has tempted so many individuals into the drug abuse cycle.

Many public figures or celebrities of today are involved in these drug acts and they even sometimes feel no ignominy in displaying their big cigars containing weed on T.V or singing about Codeine and while the masses are seemingly enjoying these tracks, they do not realize the damage such music and so-called enertaniment does as so many out in the nation are being prompted to engage in these acts just through what they see in Music Videos, T.V shows or other broadcast media and their sheer curiousity.

Personal Issues/Trauma

Due to tragedies and personal occurrences that’s taken place in the lives of many young people, they feel the need to escape reality and in a bid to get to that desire, many young adults in Nigeria partake in drug abuse since they see it as a way to get high on life and low on their problems but the issue is ‘Would they be able to revoke the law of gravity? – Everything that goes up must come down.’

Example of such issues could be physical abuse as children, rape, failure in academia among others.

Stimulation or Enhancement

Many individuals engage in drug abuse to up themselves to do, work and even sometimes sleep better, for various activities such as strenuous works, sporting activities or even to heighten experience during sex.


Some people are nurtured up in drug-infested families, societies and communities where many of those around them even family members might all be users or addicts and in most cases, except through a really functional intervention, they are goaded to think such activity is right and so get involved in drug abuse without really caring or searching for its consequences.


Of the characteristics of a youth is rebellion and the urge to want to control your own life, this has lead many down the path of taking drugs to further prove this point as well as associating themselves with morally dilapidated individuals in the community and beyond.


Many people actually try out drugs for the sake of curiosity and since this is also a conspicuous characteristic of youths, it is not far-fetched to understand how this relates with Nigerian youths who are in themselves great tryers if there is a word as such.


For various reasons, many individuals in today’s times would rather purchase drugs on their tod to solve medical issues they’ve discover but since they are not really medical practitioners, end up doing it wrong and might get hooked on such drugs especially the narcotic ones.

Common Drugs Abused in Nigeria

  1. Tramadol
  2. Codeine
  3. Cocaine: otherwise known as ‘coke’ (slang)
  4. Marijuana
  5. Indian hemp
  6. Cannabis
  7. Crack
  8. Rohypnol
  9. Skunk (Sk) and a host of others

Effects and Dangers of Drug Abuse on Youths in Nigeria


Drug purchasing and its consecutive intake is an expensive habit to maintain and this forces most addicts into penury as they exhaust every little cash they seem to get on purchasing more stimulants or other sorts of abused drugs.

Mental health issues

The eventuality of a drug abuser or addict is their tendency to having issues with their mental and psychological system – there is every tendency such individuals posses socially damaging characters, get frustrated easily at people and themselves, dress and appear insanely and behave obnoxiously, this is usually the effects of staying on substances that constantly alters their psychological state.

Increase in Crime Rate

When stimulated, people get invoked into partaking in lots of criminal and dangerous activities. Since impulse is what is stimulating these thoughts, they might even end up killing for pointless reasons

Drug Trafficking

Since there is a high demand for such malicious products in the nation, the need to make sales arises and youths involved in such acts are usually the by-passers of the law who make such illegal dealings.

Drug Addiction or Dependence

As much as the host intakes a particular drug or product, so does the body yearn for more and this eventually results in a constant need to take drugs for their well-being and wholeness.

Unlawful Behaviors

Rape or sexual molestation, physical violence and all sorts of unlawful and punishable acts are part of the aftermath of drug abuse as these individuals are basically not in their right mind any longer, they are prompted to do what can’t be undone which might mar them or their victim’s life forever.

Health Issues and Death

Some drugs such as narcotics are liable to causes certain health related issues such poor perception, constipation, cough, suppression, vomiting, drowsiness and sleep, unconsciousness and other complication which eventually may eventually lead to death.

Social abnormality

You can’t overtake drugs and be normal, there’ll definitely be something off about you, it might not be so conspicuous as soon as the drug intakes starts but as time goes on, the deformities will start manifesting.

Personality disorders

When a person takes drugs, they are no longer themselves but another person based on what sort of drugs taken, they are compelled by the drugs to act and behave as such, this dries out once the effects of the drugs are washed away and they are back to their normal self, damages might have been made prior to coming back to one’s senses.

Solutions to the Issue of Drug Abuse in Nigerian Youths

  1. Parents or Home Drug Education
    Parents should engage their wards on the topic of drug abuse as a social ill in the nation and ensure their kids are well fed on this  as well as other major social challenges youths face in the Nigeria before they socialize with bad influence and are goaded into something they’ll end up regretting in life.
  2. Campaigns against the use of unmedical treatments and drug abuse
  3. Constant campaigns and movements on the issue would definitely go a long way in reminding youths of the dangers of drug abuse and what it does to the human body eventually.
  4. Adult Sensitization on the issue of Drug Abuse among youths in Nigeria
    The family is the first learning platform for the youths and since you can’t give what you don’t have, parents need to be conversant with the issue of drug abuse themselves before they can aid their kids or other youths with useful information on the topic.
  5. Policy implementation against the use of drugs on media platforms e.g T.V, Music Videos as well as strict sanctions for offenders.
  6. Customs Service Scrutiny
    It’s not a far-fetched fact that the public service in the nation is filled with corrupt officials with itchy palms who permit any and everything into the nation without proper clearance even at the risk of endangering the lives of their own kids just for a few bucks that would be exhausted on making the belly high.
  7. The customs service can ensure the correct and legal distribution of drugs from the right sources to the needed channels by doing their jobs well even when without supervision.
  8. Agencies such as the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Customs Services and other governmental or non-governmental agencies who are involved in the regulation of the sector should work together in a bid to end the illicit usage and distribution of drugs.
  9. Establishment of Counseling and Correctional Centers for Former Users or those struggling
    The establishments of counseling centers in communities by the government or private corporations individuals would go a long way in helping those who are actually tired of being involved in drugs but since they are hooked, find it difficult to do away with.
    The placement of qualified personnel in these centers would help drug addicts or those struggling with the act by providing them with realistic advice on how they can withdraw from the act as well as how to stay clean (off drugs).
  10. Designing Curricula on Drug Education for Students
    Drugs and drug abuse is actually a topic in classes but that’s merely enough to help solve the major moral set-back Nigerian youths have been conditioned too, there should be more emphasis and elucidation on the topic so as to make a constant reminder of the effects of drug abuse on youths in the nation. Such curricular might be an extra-curricular visit to a place` for holding drug addicts in rehab or a visit to psychiatric homes so children and young adults that be aware of the aftermath of such acts should they thread that path.


Drug Abusers in the Nigerian society are usually considered in most cases as lost cases because most family members don’t usually know what to do with them but actually there are correctional and counseling offices near you that can help with this issue.

Also, if the issue of drug abuse is not curtailed in the lives of youths in Nigeria and is left to develop with them into adulthood, it would definitely contribute a great deal into damaging the lives and hopes of many youths in the nation.

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