University of Tasmania
142687-The burden of drug abuse in Nigeria a scoping review of epidemiological studies and drug laws.pdf (894.09 kB)

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

Download (894.09 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 20:42 authored by Jatau, AI, Sha'aban, A, Gulma, KA, Shitu, Z, Khalid, GM, Isa, A, Wada, AS, Mustapha, M
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 targeted intervention. We, therefore, aim to conduct a scoping review of the literature to summarize the findings of epidemiological studies on drug abuse and provisions of drug laws in Nigeria. The review also provides appropriate recommendations as interventions for prevention.

Methods: We conducted a systematic search of the literature on PubMed to identify information on drug abuse and drug laws in Nigeria from the inception of the database to March 2020. Additional information was retrieved from Google Scholar, a manual search of included articles, discussion with experts on the subject matter, and gray literature. Study selection was performed using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statements. Information from gray literature was assessed for quality and accuracy using the AACODS checklist (authority, accuracy, coverage, objectively, date, significance).

Results: The systematic search of the literature generated 253 studies. Nine articles were obtained from other sources. After the selection process, 23 eligible studies were included for review. A prevalence of 20–40% and 20.9% of drug abuse was reported among students and youths, respectively. Commonly abused drugs include cannabis, cocaine, amphetamine, heroin, diazepam, codeine, cough syrup and tramadol. Sources where abusers obtained drugs, were pharmacies/patent medicine shops, open drug markets, drug hawkers, fellow drug abusers, friends, and drug pushers. Drug abuse was common among 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 educational background were the common risk factors associated with drug abuse. We identified several drug laws and policies that were established under government agencies such as the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) and a Presidential Advisory Committee.

Conclusion: Findings from epidemiological studies on drug abuse in Nigeria has demonstrated that the burden of drug abuse is still high despite the existing drug laws, policies, and strategies for prevention. Measures to reduce the burden should involve the community, government, and religious bodies. Preventive measures should target the youths, the students, identified sources of the drugs, reasons and risk factors associated with drug abuse in Nigeria.


Publication title

BioMed Central Ltd.



Article number









School of Pharmacy and Pharmacology


BioMed Central Ltd

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

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

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in the health sciences

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania


    Ref. manager