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The "War on drugs" in Nigeria: How effective and beneficial is it in dealing with the problem?

SE Otu


Since drugs became both a public and social issue in Nigeria, fear about both the real and imagined catastrophic effects of  sale and use has led to a reliance on extreme measures to control supply and discourage demand. The traditional ‘prohibitive’ attitude has been the preferred option in a sustained ‘drug war’. This analysis draws from extant research literature, published documents and media reports on drug policy matters. Although
the age-long war on drug policy in Nigeria may be producing some desired results, there is evidence of negative consequences and unresolved issues associated with the war. These issues include economic, crime, human rights, development and security, public health, discrimination and environment. The paper calls for a shift from the over-reliance on law enforcement to harm reduction and treatment for people addicted to drugs. The shift will provide far more cost-effective drug control results and guarantee the rights of Nigerians as enshrined in the U. N. Human Rights Declaration and the constitution of Nigeria.

Key words: war on drugs, Nigeria, drug policy, harm reduction