The Pharmarcists Council of Nigeria (PCN) on Thursday gathered critical stakeholders in Kaduna to brainstorm on the way out of the alarming prevalence of drug abuse in Nigeria.
The World Drug Report (2019) had pegged drug abuse prevalence in Nigeria at 14.4 percent, that is 14.4 million people between the ages of 15 – 64 years, a rate comparatively higher than the global average.
PCN Registrar Elisha Mohammed said curiosity and peer pressure are majorly factors people, especially school children and young persons, engage in non-medical drug use.
According to him, the development causes worry for the Council considering the economic contributions of this group to national development, informing the Council’s move to bring vulnerable groups, particularly school children, in contact with policymakers to chart a way forward.
“The seminar on drugs and substances abuse in the Northwest organised by Pharmarcists Council of Nigeria (PCN) for Codeine Control and other Related Matters Working Group (CCRWG) held at popular Arewa House, Kaduna, was conceived to provide a platform of interaction to increase awareness on the subject matter,” Mohammed said.
Speaking on the topic: ‘Curbing the manace of drug abuse through information, education and communication’, the keynote Speaker, Professor Oluwatoyin Odeku, said the issues of drugs has been giving her serious concern.
According to her, the drugs are meant to address a particular health issue it was prescribed for, which people now abuse without prescription, a development that have led to brain damage which is quite expensive to manage at rehabilitation centres.
“Drug abuse kills. Drug abuse truncates your future. Children please don’t be involved in drug abuse. You have a great future. God has deposited a lot of potentials in you. Drug abuse affects the way your body performs. It affect important part of your body,” she said.
“It changes your brain chemistry. It takes control of your brain because it has affected the brain, some will become repressive or depressive. They look unkept. They engage in strange behaviour.
“The issue of drug abuse is a a big problem in Nigeria and all of us must come together to come up with the way forward.
“There should be surveillance on emerging drugs whereby the government will be strategically positioned to know about the emerging drugs with a view to nip it in the bud early enough,” she urged.