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Nigeria has been Grappling with a Growing Drug Problem

In its World Drug Report, published in June, the UN recorded a rise in the country’s rate of abuse from 5.6% in 2016 to 14.4% in 2018, with cannabis the most commonly used drug. Ease of access to drugs, poverty, job insecurity and unemployment have fuelled the increase. Now there are concerns that lockdown restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic have exacerbated the problem. According to Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, the south-west of the country has the highest rates of abuse and trafficking, with more than 22% of 15- to 65-year-olds using drugs in the past year. The Goodworker Ministry International, a Christian-based centre, says its drug treatment work was “divinely commissioned by the Lord” in 2002, organises outreach programmes to encourage people to bring their relatives to the centre. Goodworker has been admitting inpatients since lockdown was eased last year. After three months in rehab, recovering users are released to their families, but that can give rise to new challenges. The team at the centre monitor people after they leave. They know their families and friends, and follow up on them if they start socialising again with drug users.