Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) is proposing a mandatory drug test for persons intending to get married.

NDLEA chairman Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd) said compulsory drug tests and evaluations for intending couples will reduce the prevalence and effect of drug abuse in the country.

Marwa made the proposal at a programme to address drug abuse in Kano State.

“Nobody wants his daugther to marry a drug addict or a drug user and you are not sure – when people come to marry, they have a nice face and you don’t know what is behind it,” Marwa said.

In a 2018 report, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) said the prevalence of any drug use in Nigeria was estimated at 14.4 per cent, meaning that 14.3 million of people aged between 15 and 64 years have abused drugs.

UNODC said the extent of drug use in Nigeria is comparatively high when compared with the 2016 global annual prevalence of any drug use of 5.6 per cent among the adult population.

The prevalence of psychoactive substances excluding alcohol, overall was higher among men in Nigeria. However the gender difference in the non-medical use of prescription opioids, tranquilizers, and cough syrups was less marked, UNODC said.

“Drug use was most common among those who were between the ages of 25 and 39 years, while the rates of past-year use were lowest among those who were below 24 years of age. Cannabis was the most commonly used drug followed by opioids, mainly the non-medical use of prescription opioids and cough syrup,” UNODC said in the report.

A representative of NASFAT, an Islamic group, Ishak Zubair said Islam encourages peaceful marriage and discourages divorce which he said is mostly an impact of drug abuse by either party in the union.

“In order to avoid divorce in Islam, going for that test to have rest of mind for someone you want to go for is an Islamic way,” Zubair said.

Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Sokoto State Samuel Adeyemo said they are in support of NDLEA’s moves to reduce drug abuse in the country.

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