Africa Faces Substantial Increase in Illegal Drug Use, Study Warns

Addis Ababa Sub-Saharan Africa will see the world's biggest surge in illicit drug users, with its share of global drug consumption projected to double, in the next 30 years, Enhancing Africa's Response to Transnational Organized Crime consortium partners revealed today.

The comprehensive new research and analysis by ENACT consortium partners stated that illegal drug use poses a formidable problem to governments in Africa, from both a law enforcement perspectives and health standpoint.

By 2050 there will be an additional 14 million Africans using illegal drugs, with a total of 23 million users in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2016, the continent dominated a global expansion of non-medical use of pharmaceutical opioids with 87% of global seizures.

According to the study, East Africa will experience the sharpest increase in the proportion of its population using illicit drugs, and West Africa is set to remain the continent's largest regional drug market.

An underground economy has developed around the production and distribution of methamphetamines, particularly in Nigeria.

Furthermore, the study stated that Africa's dangerous drugs phenomenon is driven by weak regulation and organized criminals operating across national borders.

African consumption of illegal drugs is projected to become a public health emergency but the continent has a dramatic inability to meet demand for treatment, the study warned.

The study recommended that African countries strengthen law enforcement to prevent illicit drug market.

African drug policy is complex and controversial, and previous attempts to respond to drug trade and consumption have done a disproportionate amount of harm with limited results, it added.

The ENACT consortium is a partnership between the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), INTERPOL, and the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI), funded by the European Union.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency