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Today, according to statistics more than 7 million people suffer from an illicit drug disorder, and one in four deaths results from illicit drug use. In fact, more deaths, illnesses and disabilities are said to be associated with drug abuse than any other preventable health condition. People suffering from drug and alcohol addiction also have a higher risk of unintentional injuries, accidents and domestic violence incidents.
Drug abuse is use legal or illegal substances in ways one shouldn’t. When one takes more than the regular dose of pills or uses someone else’s prescription, it amounts to drug abuse. People abuse drugs to feel good, ease stress, or avoid reality. Addiction is a disease that affects one’s brain and behaviour. When one is addicted to drugs, one cannot resist the urge to use them, no matter how much harm the drugs may cause.
BDSUNDAY spoke with some pharmacists and concerned Nigerians on how to remedy drug abuse and addiction in the country, as it has continued to wreak havoc among the youth of Nigeria.
Iyanda Temitope Elizabeth
In my own opinion, Knowledge they say is key. First of all, I think there is need for more sensitisation about this issue because many people are still ignorant of what drug abuse really is, people should be enlightened on the risk abuse of drug imposes on their health.
Most of these drugs can also be substituted with another, like substituting codeine or tramadol with ibuprofen for chronic pain; it is the job of the doctor prescribing such to do. In this case, the availability of those drugs will be reduced.
Charity, they say, begins at home. For our youths, I think parents should monitor their children; pay attention to the kind of friends they keep. Keep track of their prescription and dosage. This way, the issue of drug abuse will reduce drastically.
Akano Deborah Oreoluwa
Well, first things first; the Federal Government should ban the importation of hard drugs into the country; some African counties have done that already. Second, a lot of awareness creation should be put in place, so as to educate Nigerians on the negative impacts of drug intake. They should also be aware that those who take drugs end up being dead or running mad; a lot of awareness creation has to be put in place. In this kind of situation, the government and citizens concerned with eradicating drug abuse have to work together.
This issue is something that has been lingering for a very long time, I think what the government and other drug law enforcement bodies should do is to create more public awareness about the dangers of drug abuse and addiction; educating people through inclusion in school curriculum, enacting punishment on defaulters- for example, in Malaysia any drug peddler faces a death sentence. I think same should be applied here in Nigeria. It will, at least, bring in some sanity. Parental guidance, medical restrictions on sales of some drugs and finally control of illicit/illegal importation of drugs must be pursued.
Well, technically, this is a very big deal of a question because it can’t be stopped due to the fact it is gotten in the first place via illegal means in which government does not control. The government only needs to be proactive in checking every corner to remedy this defect. There are plantations for this in Nigeria not known to anyone not even the buyers; only the dealers can tell, even the dealers at times don’t know as they are just distributors; they get the merchandise and distribute. I think this goes in deeper than anything. Cocaine and some other drugs are not new; efforts have always been made to stop their usage or abuse but still they still manage to get to the hands of certain Nigerians. So, it is more than just an importation problem, government needs to find this channels and cut it; they can’t stop it like I said, but reduce it.
No matter what, the truth is that drug abuse can’t be eradicated from Nigeria and most of the addictions are those that are being prescribed for certain medications, like drugs for anxiety or anti-psychotics. So, at the end of the day, hospitals and doctors contribute to drug abuse. So, if you are telling me you want to eradicate it you have to demolish all hospitals, which is not possible. The only thing to do is create more awareness against taking drugs without prescription and against taking dangerous drugs (prohibited drugs).
In my opinion, there should be proper awareness about this drug abuse because it has eaten deed into the system. Imagine a young Nigerian who is supposed to be vibrant and making things work in his society sitting down and taking tramadol, just to get “high”. Government should begin to do a door-to-door awareness about it, and then equip and create more rehab centres for this purpose.
I think there should be a strategy that is designed to increase community readiness and engage communities in prevention activities and actions to reduce use of harmful legal products among youths. Effective community mobilisation is essential to implementing a mutually supportive mix of prevention approaches, i.e., environmental strategies and a school-based prevention curriculum.