The Prevalence of Drug Use and Illicit Trafficking: A Descriptive Cross Sectional Study of Irregular Migrant Returnees in Nigeria

The prevalence of drug use and illicit trafficking: A descriptive cross sectional study of irregular migrant returnees in Nigeria

Ikenna Daniel Molobe (a , b)  Oluwakemi Ololade Odukoya (b , c)

a) Unified Initiative for a Drug Free Nigeria (UIDFN), Lagos, Nigeria

b) Non-Communicable Disease Research Group, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria

c) Department of Community Health and Primary Care, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Nigeria


The study assessed the prevalence of drug use and drug trafficking among Nigerian returned migrants from Libyan detention centers in the transit or destination along the Mediterranean irregular migration route. This is a descriptive cross sectional study. The study population was restricted to migrants who returned from May 2017 and April 2018. A total of 382 (238 male and 144 female) were contacted and provided information for this study. These participants were recruited using judgemental and snowballing techniques. Both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection were used. Results showed that 61.3% of the respondents used drugs during their migration. Drug use was predominant among those in the younger age group (26–30) accounting for 24.9%. The study revealed reasons for respondents’ drug use which were as a result of migration frustration and trauma, or compulsion. The findings on drug trafficking revealed that 15.7% of the respondents engaged in drug trafficking during their migration, and 28% of the respondents that trafficked drugs had previous experience of arrest or detention by law enforcement agent (in Libya). Findings from this study showed high prevalence of drug use among irregular migrants. Experience of migration frustration and trauma were among the factors that contribute to drug use among the migrant population. The study also discovered that some of the migrants who got into illicit drug trafficking were to raise money for survival while some were compelled into the business. The high prevalence of drug use among irregular migrants from findings draw attention to the important implications for public health and social security, while drug trafficking in existence among migrants calls for need of social reintegration.


Irregular migration; Drug use; Drug trafficking; Mediterranean route; Libya; Nigerians

1. Ikenna Daniel Molobe , Oluwakemi Ololade Odukoya , The Prevalence of Drug Use and Illicit Trafficking: A Descriptive Cross Sectional Study of Irregular Migrant Returnees in Nigeria, Journal of Migration and Health (2021), doi:
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