Uju Edochie Blog ©. Powered by Blogger.

ABUSE OF CODEINE,OTHERS: Expect More Youths With Mental Illnesses –Psychiatrists

Nigerian medical personnel have warned that the nation will likely see more youngsters battling mental issues in the wake of the upsurge in the use of the now banned codeine and other hard drugs.
Last week, a harrowing report by the BBC brought to the fore the rising scourge caused by the use of illicit drugs by millions of young Nigerians across the country.

Based on the report, the Federal Government promptly banned the importation of codeine as active pharmaceutical ingredient for cough preparations into the country.
However, a number of medical personnel Sunday Telegraph spoke to, clearly pointed out that the measure might not be enough to prevent youngsters from laying their hands on the drug, which is not only very addictive, but also has life threatening side effects.

Speaking, Dr. Babatunde Suleiman, Consultant Psychiatrist, at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, said: “Even before the documentary from the BBC, we were aware that a number of youth had the problem with codeine and Tramadol. Being a lady cousin to heroin, it has the same effect. It goes into the brain and releases pleasurable chemical called dopamine; you feel calm and relaxed. After a while, you discover you need to take more and more. If they don’t take it, they have withdrawal symptoms.”

On what will happen to those who are already addicted to the drug, he said: “People will be more desperate and do more to get it. It will affect their mental state and they will be more desperate as the cost of getting it may be three, four times more expensive, because it is contraband. Expect a lot of violence from the desperate addict and maybe drug related wars among the cartels.”

Speaking further, he warned: “If you ban codeine in cough syrup, you will set up drug cartels and people will smuggle them into Nigeria from Ghana, Chad and other neighbouring countries where it hasn’t been banned. Our borders are too porous for this. You will just create billionaires from the illicit trade. People will stop smuggling rice and start smuggling codeine instead. It may be banned, but it will still be readily available, only more expensive.”

Also reacting, a Medical Social Worker at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Idi-Araba, Titi Tade, said: “Already, those addicted to it are not in a balanced state of mental health so they could get worse. They may have pre-existing conditions, fears or problems that make them take codeine. The only thing is that the market will be driven deeper underground but there will still be people buying and producing it but more costly than before.

“You will find people might go into armed robbery, prostitution and other vices to accommodate the cost of the drug. There will be withdrawal symptoms and mental health issues will be aggravated.”
The Medical Director, Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Dr. Oluwayemi Ogun, believes codeine impacts the mental status of the user.

“Codeine is a drug of abuse impacting the mental health of those taking it. So when banned, it is likely that side effects will go away or they may go for alternatives. Many people that take it are not in positive mental health. They are desperate people; they steal and do all kinds of things in order to get the drug. Their entire focus is on how to get the next fix so they are unable to contribute to the environment, they could become psychotic. I commend the government for banning it; they have done what they can.”

On his part, Dr. Baba Issa, a Consultant Psychiatrist and Head, Department of Behavioural Sciences at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, pointed out: “Mental illness is on the increase in Nigeria. They do not have money, so an increasing number of people are engaging in self-medication. More people are abusing alcohol and drugs.

“Investigations revealed that at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Kware, Sokoto State that the average number of mental illness cases attended to on a daily basis has increased from 167 in 2015 to 255 from 2016 till February 2017”.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government has said comprehensive plans are currently being firmed up to generally address prevalence of drug abuse under the mental health policy in the state, revealing that a law to that effect has already been updated.

Speaking at the annual Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the third anniversary of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration, which held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa on Friday, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, said before and after the ban was announced, the state government had been engaging with key stakeholders, adding that it was important for serious attention to be concentrated on mental health issue and affiliated matters.

However, the BBC has come in for commendation from some highly placed Nigerians for its expose on the codeine problem in the country.
The wife of the President, Aisha Buhari commended the British broadcasting outfit for the report which seemed to galvanise the relevant agencies into action that culminated in the ban of the importation of codeine last Tuesday.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, also welcomed the move by the Federal Government.

Source: New Telegraph.

No comments