Stakeholders in the health sector have called for better care and treatment to end drug abuse in Nigeria.
The call was made at a media briefing by doctors, caregivers, psychologists and other relevant partners at a press briefing held by the Federal Medical Center, Abuja, to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Saad Ahmed, said that the day, which was set aside by the WHO is aimed at creating awareness on the dangers of drugs.
“There is actually no better time to talk about this but now. Being the fact that we are faced with the scourge of drug abuse and illicit trafficking. And therefore it is quite timely.” Ahmed said.
He added that the Federal Medical Center, Abuja is joining the WHO and other partners to mark the day and create awareness on the menace.
A Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Moturayo Oyiloyun, said that children constitute the largest number of drug users in Nigeria.
She said that 14.4% of Nigerians between the ages of fifteen and sixty-four years of age abuse drugs.
“We found out that mostly the substances abused are mostly cannabis, over the counter medications like cough syrups, and other opium medications like tramadol. Drug abuse is not limited to adults only,” she said.
She encouraged families to take proper care of their children to avoid peer influence and risky behavior.
She added that: “There need to be preventive measures, we need to also focus a lot on parenting skills and improving community access of young people to information on substance use so that they can have adequate knowledge and don’t to rely on the Internet and celebrities who may actually pose a problem to them.”
Similarly, a mental health practitioner, Dr. Deyiba Shuaibu, said that addiction is a disease and needs to be treated as such.
She said that nobody sets out to become an addict but it goes beyond to power of an individual.
“When someone is struggling with an addiction, it is not a time to judge, blame, or advice. What they need at that time is treatment,” Shuaibu said.
She however appealed to Pharmacists to always insist on prescriptions before administering drugs.
Other speakers at the event blamed lack of parental care, hardship and peer pressure as some of the causes of drug abuse.
They also noted that there are direct and indirect relationships between drug abuse and the rising cases of rape in society.
They also called on parents to monitor their children’s phone and know the kind of things they watch or listen to.
The day was marked in collaboration with Synapse Services
The theme of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking 2020 is “Better Knowledge for better care.”
The UN General Assembly in 1987 decided to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse.