The hid­den drug trou­bles

Daily Trust - - HEALTH - From Chris­tiana Alabi & Sun­day Isuwa, Kaduna

Most people who use drugs don’t think they have any prob­lem and even when they are dropped out of school, have prob­lem with their fam­i­lies, have ac­ci­dent, they don’t still think that the drugs they are tak­ing are re­spon­si­ble for the things hap­pen­ing to them.”

These were the words of Dr. Ebiti Wil­liams, the head of clin­i­cal ser­vices and also head of drug and al­co­hol treat­ment unit at the Federal Neu­ropsy­chi­atric Hospi­tal in Kaduna.

Ac­cord­ing to him ma­jor­ity of people who are into drugs are not in­ter­ested in stop­ping, only a few want to.

Com­ment­ing on the ef­fect of drug use on the vic­tims, he said that the use of drugs leads to high risk be­hav­iours in­clud­ing driv­ing reck­lessly, in­volve­ment in ex­tra-mar­i­tal af­fairs or un­pro­tected sex, fight­ing and killing among other.

He blamed the in­creased drug use among youths for the in­se­cu­rity be­dev­illing the coun­try es­pe­cially the north­ern part of the coun­try.

To him, the use of sub­stances will cer­tainly fuel bad be­hav­iours. “There are things that no nor­mal hu­man be­ing is ex­pected to do, for ex­am­ple walk­ing into a school where there are chil­dren and killing all of them. It has ab­so­lutely noth­ing to do with re­li­gion and it is ob­vi­ous that per­pe­tra­tors of such acts must be un­der the in­flu­ence of one sub­stance or the other to be able to carry out such mas­sacre.

So we are likely go­ing to be hav­ing this prob­lem of in­se­cu­rity as drug use in­creases and a lot more prob­lem as­so­ci­ated with vi­o­lence, armed rob­bery, fight­ing, killing and such reck­less wastage of hu­man lives. There is go­ing to be lots of atroc­i­ties in a so­ci­ety where there is a lot of drug use,” he stressed.

In­ter­est­ingly, some of the drugs abused ac­cord­ing to Dr. Ebiti have medic­i­nal uses but ma­jor­ity of the people us­ing the drugs are us­ing them for their eu­phoric ef­fect and for the high they get from them.

He cited a typ­i­cal ex­am­ple of Ben­nylin cough syrup with codeine, which is used for treat­ment of cough but people who abuse it use it for the high and the eu­phoric feel­ings it gives to them.

Tra­madol, he also said is used medic­i­nally for pain re­lief but people who abuse it, us­ing it for the eu­phoric ef­fect.

He also stated that there is medic­i­nal use for cannabis but 99.9% of people who smoke it do so for the high feel­ing it gives to them and not for the medic­i­nal pur­pose.

On whether the use of tra­madol and other sub­stances kills, Dr. Ebiti said it is far fetched as he has not per­son­ally wit­nessed the death of any­one who died di­rectly as a re­sult of us­ing tra­madol but that if use has been as­so­ci­ated with psy­chotic ill­ness, the vic­tims may break down and run mad or break down with men­tal ill­ness; adding that some of them could have seizures, that is, epilepsy as a re­sult of pro­longed use of tra­madol.

The Kaduna State Com­man­der of Na­tional Drug Law En­force­ment Agency (NDLEA), Al­haji Mo­hammed Jib­rin, con­firmed the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of about 90 women who ac­cord­ing to him are al­ready un-use­ful to the so­ci­ety.

“Within a short pe­riod, we were able to bring back to nor­mal about 90 fe­male drug ad­dicts. Some of the women were al­ready go­ing ab­nor­mal and med­i­cally un­fit as a re­sult of drug use. What we do is to put them un­der guid­ance and coun­selling for some­time, this coun­sel­lor preaches to them and guides them on the proper way to live and grad­u­ally re­move the per­son from the drug en­vi­ron­ment,”

“For the pe­riod that the vic­tims are with us, they don’t have ac­cess to drugs for use; we have an agree­ment with their par­ents or hus­bands or re­la­tions that brought them on the pe­riod they are go­ing to stay with us,” Jib­rin said.

Ac­cord­ing to the com­man­dant, “If we are the ones that ar­rested the drug ad­dicts, we call their par­ents or hus­bands to tell them that the per­son is with us, and that we will want to cor­rect such a per­son. The du­ra­tion of drug ad­dicts’ stay with the coun­sel­lors ranges from three months to one year. We also teach them some vo­ca­tional skills dur­ing the pe­riod,” he said while he noted that the agency also in­tro­duces sports and re­li­gious teach­ings to the drugs vic­tims taken to their fa­cil­i­ties in Zaria.

“If she is a Chris­tian, we have a pas­tor that preaches to them, if she is a Mus­lim, we get a Mus­lim cleric that also preaches to them and they must pray five times daily. We will also sub­ject them to hear­ing of preach­ings by Is­lamic cleric, and they lis­ten to the word of God, twice daily.

“In the early af­ter­noon, they en­gage in sports with col­leagues, and come back. By the time such a per­son spend’s six months with­out any drug to take; his mind will to­tally be taken out of drugs. This is a psy­cho-so­cial ther­apy to re­move drug from the per­son. Af­ter un­der­go­ing all the pro­cesses, the vic­tim would be re­formed and by the time, she gets back to the so­ci­ety, she/he would have be­come a changed per­son and no more a drug ad­dict.

“We also nor­mally ad­vise par­ents or guardians to es­tab­lish the vic­tims af­ter they has ac­quired skills in dif­fer­ent vo­ca­tions. Even if it means tak­ing loans to set them up be­cause it is idle­ness that pushes some of them to drugs and now that they have learned a trade,” he said.

Speak­ing fur­ther, he said NDLEA also em­barks on what is called ‘Af­ter care’ where NDLEA check the vic­tim from time to time or ask the par­ents to bring her from time to time for ob­ser­va­tion.

“Among women, there is a very high in­crease in drug abuse. The in­crease is not on il­licit drugs that we are all aware of. While NDLEA is win­ning the war on co­caine, hero­ine and cannabis among oth­ers; our youths and women are ex­plor­ing other ar­eas. Items that are meant for le­gal use are now been abused by our youths but we are work­ing with the state govern­ment on a law that will stem it,” Jib­rin added.

PHOTO: JUDD-LEONARD OKAFOR

Un­con­trolled drug sales con­sti­tute ac­cess to abuse.

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