#Editorial

Still on Drugs and Mental Health

THE issues of drug and mental health of people are gaining more attention and action globally because of the growing misuse and abuse of illicit and banned substances and the resultant mental health problems. A report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2018 indicated that substance abuse has become an important social and health problem in many countries of the world. To address the growing problem of substance abuse and mental disorder, the World Health Organisation (WHO) devoted October 10 every year as the World Mental Health Day, an international day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma.
AVAILABLE record from WHO puts the number of people with one mental illness or the other at 450 million globally. It further stated that 25 per cent of the population would suffer from common illnesses such as depression and anxiety at some point in their lives.
ALSO, UNODC, in collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Center for Research and Information on Substance Abuse (CRISA), revealed that 14.3 million people in Nigeria abuse all forms of drugs and reported “lifetime use” of alcohol and cigarettes and that approximately 30 percent of Nigerians suffer from mental illness, some of which is due to substance abuse.
THE available record indicates that over 90 percent of mental illness were caused by drug abuse. The above information revealed that substance abuse and mental disorder is becoming a serious social problem that must be addressed with all seriousness required because of its destructive consequences.
IT should be noted that all drugs have some kind of effect on one’s mental health. They can affect the way one sees and experiences things, one’s mood and behaviour.The effects of recreational drugs such as cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin, as well as alcohol, tobacco and some prescribed medicines if they are misused might feel pleasant or unpleasant.
THEY may last for a short time or a longer period. Some effects may continue after the drug itself has worn off.Of course, people take drugs for different reasons. They may begin out of curiosity, rebellion, or because their friends take them. They may also enjoy taking them and want to repeat the experience.
PEOPLE may take drugs when they are unhappy, stressed or trying to cope with problems of life.
HOWEVER, drugs can make difficult feelings and emotions even worse. One of the major outcomes or negative consequences, a very destructive one, is that it affects the mental health of one that indulges in the abuse. Thus, some common serious mental disorders associated with chronic drug abuse include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, manic depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, and antisocial personality.
UNFORTUNATELy, these ban substances and illicit drugs are easily accessible because of ineffectiveness of the agencies charged with the responsibility of curbing their illegal access and use.
SINCE drug abuse has devastating effects on the mind, behavior, and relationships as well as the permanent effects of drugs on the body can slowly destroy vital systems and functions, culminating in permanent disability or even death, it is incumbent on all Nigerians to take the fight against the destructive act and tendencies.
THEREFORE, all hands must be on deck to drastically reduce and exterminate the dangerous rising banned substance abuse and associated mental problems in the Nigeria. The parents must monitor their children more closely to ensure that they are free from drug abuse and where they suspect their involvement, to seek interventions from public health practitioners.
ALSO, religious leaders should preach vigorously against the evil acts among their congregants, while school authourities at secondary and tertiary levels should introduce measures including periodic checks for drugs abuse among their students.
THE governments should get more involved by taking proactive measures in educating and mobilizing the public on the inherent dangers in widespread use of banned and illicit drugs in the country.
THE need to create more rehabilitation centres and psychiatric hospitals to cope with the growing number of mental health problems in the country becomes necessary. The National Council of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services should redouble its efforts to rid the society of drug abuse and mental health disorder.

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