‘Drug abuse, self-medication increases cases of depression’

The increasing menace of drug abuse and self-medication has become a major concern as experts say it can trigger increase in depression rate in the country.

“Heavy users of drugs are at risk of suffering depression at a point in their life” said Richard Adebayo a consultant psychiatrist/clinical psychologist at Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Yaba, Lagos.

Adebayo said the use of psychoactive drugs or substances is on the increase in Nigeria.

“Abuse of these substances has thrown many teenagers and young people into depression, which is affecting the society today; it has a serious impact in day to day life,” he said.

According to him, any route of administering cannabis, marijuana by cooking, drinking or smoking it is not beneficial to the body, stating it is inimical and dangerous to health, it links to multiple harm, not only in mental health, but cardiovascular disease.

“There are misconceptions people have about psychoactive substances especially among the young. Cannabis does not give inspiration, inspiration comes from God. It disorganises not only the brains but the entire system,” the Psychiatrist said.

Recently, The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has identified cough syrup, tramadol, rubber solution, methamphetamine, cocaine, cannabis as some of the most abused drugs in Nigeria.

According to the data released by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), BusinessDay gathered that N46 billion worth of illicit drugs was seized by NDLEA in 5years where Ondo, Edo, Kano have highest seizures.

Larne Yusuf a medical practitioner based in Lagos said the effect of drug abuse and self-medication stays behind even after stopping its intake.

“Most abused drugs targets your health directly or indirectly, it could be the brain or any organ of the body   that could lead to various behaviour problems,” Yusuf said.

Yusuf further stated said that research has shown that overdose and self-medication threatens health and it affects almost all the organs in body.

Speaking on the abuse of cough syrup with codeine by Nigerian youths, Sani Aliyu director general, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), said “you do not necessarily need cough syrup to treat cough, also sharing a needle and syringe to inject any type of substance puts you at risk of HIV” Aliyu said.

Anthonia Obokoh

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Author: Anthonia Obokoh