‘Drug abuse now prevalent among women’
Drug use increasing among youths in Kaduna State especially among young ladies and married women. The use of drugs in the past was more popular among the male folk but now, the women folk are taking the lead.
Many young women are seen hanging out with men at drug joints taking varieties of drugs as well as non-conventional drugs like lizard excreta among others and as such they misbehave on the streets under the influence of the drugs.
In fact, some become mentally ill as a result of the prolonged use of the drugs.
Checks revealed that about 90 women have recently passed through rehabilitation at the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) facility in Zaria.
A source told our correspondents that on a daily basis, women are being arrested over drug intake. He added that the setting up of a task force on illicit drugs by the Kaduna State government coordinated by NDLEA is yielding result in combating drug trafficking.
The task force is made up of personnel from Army, Airforce, SSS and the NSCDC.
Dr. Ebiti Williams, the Head of Clinical Services and also Head of Drug and Alcohol Treatment Unit at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital in Kaduna said in an interview that Nigeria has not yet gotten the expertise to deal with substance use problem.
“You see a lot of people saying they are treating patients with substance use problem but when you walk around the whole place, they are not really doing anything to deal with the problem. It is a multi-dimensional problem and as such, we need people with the expertise to be able to deal with substance use problem,”
“We need facilities to deal with substance use problem but have very few facilities that have expertise to do that. We a
is lot of training, while government needs to come up with policies to help the youths. Though, many of the kids using drugs are children of very rich parents and they use drugs not because they are down trodden or unemployed,” Ebiti said.
According to him, it is not something that government alone can deal with because of the multi-dimensional aspect of the problem.
“I have had the opportunity to talk to parents whose wards are using drugs and they will remain in denial until that child is about to kill them before they will want to do something. Proposing a bill to curtail drug abuse might not be the solution,” he said.
The menace he said is a societal problem that the society must rise up to deal with from that perspective; saying that only then can Nigeria curtail the menace of drug abuse.
He also said that the intake of tramadol is on the increase generally in Nigeria and much more in Kaduna just as other drugs are on the increase too especially among youths including male and female.
In his explanation, he stated that these drugs are more or less referred to as narcotics, that is, drugs that affect the functioning of the brain; noting that often the youths are affected socially, occupationally and educationally among others.
He also said victims of drug use may not do well in school, at work and in the family, adding that the fact that they have become dependent on the drugs will make them to take the drugs at all cost whether they have money to purchase them or not and whether it is suitable for them or not.
Many of them he also said are more likely going to be involved in stealing to be able to raise money to fund the habit; saying that, most of the youths who use drugs are not working and as such do not have the resources to procure the drugs.
“No parent will give his/her child money to buy tramadol or any other substance, so they are likely to be involved in stealing and other high risk behaviours including fighting, rape, having sex without protection and armed robbery especially when they are under the influence of the drugs or when they are trying to get money to fund the drug habit.
“Most of these drugs being abused are prescription drugs and one is only supposed to buy them with a prescription but enforcing these laws is not easy and government may need to do a lot in terms of enforcement because there are laws that exist but if you walk into a chemist now and demand for tramadol or any of the drugs, they will sell them, which is not supposed to be the case. So there is need for government to begin to look at the need to regulate in terms of enforcing the laws that exist in the sale of some of these drugs to people,” he said.
Expatiating further, Dr. Ebiti noted that in Nigeria and in the North, people who use drugs are usually multi-drug users, people who use various drugs including cannabis, Indian hemp, tramadol, solution and every other substance depending on what is available to them at the moment.
He reiterated that his hospital is seeing more people who test positive to the use of tramadol. “We run a test to ascertain if they are taking drugs and the kind of drugs they take so that we can know the kind of treatment to give them and how to help them out if they are interested in stopping.
He pointed out that majority of male patients who visit the Psychiatric hospital use drug of one form or the other but he stressed that the hospital is beginning to see an increase in the number of female that use these drugs.
“What we do to our clients who take substance is basically to educate them and ask them if they want to stop. For those who do not want to stop, there is nothing we can do to help them. The best we can do is to motivate them to want to stop because it is not easy for them to stop just like that, so we motivate them to want to stop and when they agree that they want to stop, we have a drug treatment unit in our hospital where they can be treated for a minimum of four months duration of stay. It is an in-patient facility where they can be assisted to stop drug use but it only work for those who are interested in stopping.
“Surprisingly, majority of drug users don’t want to stop, we. have only a minority who want to stop and so we concentrate on them,” he said.