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Youths in Borno State Turning to Unusual Substances Amid Rising Drug Abuse Concerns

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has sounded the alarm over the growing trend of substance abuse among youths in Borno State, revealing that some are resorting to drinking fermented human urine, preserved for over 10 days, as an alternative to hard drugs.

Iliyasu Mani, the Commander of Narcotics of the NDLEA in Borno State, disclosed this in a statement, highlighting the prevalent abuse of psychoactive substances among the youth. In addition to fermented human urine, he noted that they consume unusual substances such as lizard dung, camel urine, Lipton soaked in gin, Mentholated spirit mixed with soft drinks, and even inhale toilet fumes and gutter dirt in their pursuit of intoxication.

Mani emphasized the agency’s efforts to address the issue but acknowledged the challenges, especially with the involvement of young teens, particularly women, in the abuse of new psychoactive substances. Despite the challenges, the NDLEA has strengthened its prevention strategy, including the establishment of a remodeled counseling and rehab center within the Borno State Command premises.

The NDLEA commander also highlighted the establishment of drop-in centers across all tertiary institutions, serving as research centers for drug abuse. Under Mani’s watch, the command reported the seizure of 4.5 tonnes of illicit substances and the arrest of 863 suspects. Of those arrested, 53 have been convicted, while 736 are undergoing counseling.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime household survey conducted in 2018 and reviewed in 2021 and 2022 indicated a substance abuse prevalence rate of 14.3% in Nigeria, three times higher than the 5.6% global average. The survey further revealed regional variations, with the North-East at 13.6%, North-West at 12%, and North-Central at 10%.

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The rising trend of unconventional substance abuse poses significant health risks and underscores the need for intensified efforts to address the root causes and provide effective counseling and rehabilitation for those affected.


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