Psychiatrist advocates for multiple approaches on tackling drug abuse

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Prof. Shehu

A Consultant Psychiatrist, Prof. Shehu Sale, has called for multiple approaches among stakeholders in the fight against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria.

Sale, who is the Medical Director of Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital (FNPH), Kware, in Sokoto State, made the call during a Sensitisation campaign to commemorate the World Drug Day organised by the Hospital on Wednesday.

He said more investments were desirable by stakeholders, to collectively address the rate of drug abuse and its corresponding devastating effects in the society.

Sale, who is a Master Trainer of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said ”first approach should be family setting being a pillar of society”.

”Family set-up needed to be strengthened to promote morals, values and behaviours that could transform children lives to be responsible citizens.”

According to Sale, the moral upbringing of children is a primary responsibility of every parent as children needed constant guidance, mentoring and supervisions.

“Parents should always monitor children and often imitate what their parents are doing.

”Another leg is the introduction of drug abuse and related subjects in primary and secondary schools, along with undergraduate courses in tertiary institutions.

”Government should also continue to drive policies that would discourage people from getting involved in illicit drug use and trafficking.

“The laws regarding drug abuse in the country should be enhanced so as to have offenders duly punished. It will serve as a deterrent to others.

“All the enforcement agencies, including the government, should collaborate in efforts to curb drug abuse and trafficking because it requires multi-dimensional approach,” Sale said.

Sale urged that communication gap existing between agencies and the mental health professionals should be bridged.

He added, ”they ought to be on the same page on issues relating to prevention and health implications of drug abuse.

”Strong synergy and interaction between the law enforcement agencies and the mental professionals is required to check drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking”.

The Consultant Psychiatrist called for collective efforts against substance abuse and drug addiction awareness, saying that rampant cases of drug addiction called for continuous sensitisation.

”There should be increased education, enlightenment and advocacy in schools, religious houses, health institutions and communities.

“Substance and drug abuse in the long run can lead to anxiety, depression, paranoia, aggression, a shift in personalities and attitudes, irritation, unusual hyperactivity, psychotic issues and suicide,” he said.

Sale suggested the establishment of more drug rehabilitation centres in the country, while authorities should ensure professionals manage them.

According to him, ”’such centres would assist in reducing the overall impact of substance abuse on the brain cells as a gradual process which could ultimately lead to death”.

NAN reports that the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit trafficking, otherwise known as the World Drug Day, is marked annually on June 26.

The day is aimed at strengthening action and cooperation in achieving the goal of a world free of drug abuse.