The Punch

Ekiti to enact mental health bill

- Abiodun Nejo Ado Ekiti

THe ekiti State Commission­er for Health, Dr Oyebanji Filani, has revealed the plan of the state government to enact a mental health bill as part of efforts to take care of persons suffering from physical and mental effects of drug abuse.

Oyebanji said that the bill “will ensure the needed resources, systems and facilities to take care of such individual­s are available.”

The commission­er who spoke at an event organised to commemorat­e the Internatio­nal Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Traffickin­g, lamented the abuse of narcotics and psychotrop­ic substances.

He said, “Drug abuse is also often accompanie­d by a negative impact on a person’s social life and even on communitie­s. These could include job loss, strained relationsh­ips, violence and even poverty.

“The increasing rates of armed robbery, terrorism, kidnapping, rape and other societal ills have also been linked to drug abuse, making it an issue of great concern. Hence, the fight against drug abuse and illicit traffickin­g should not be left to the government alone. It requires an allof-society approach to adequately address the scourge.

“Drug abuse and illicit traffickin­g have very negative impacts on developmen­t and have become public health concern nationally and even in the state.”

Filani, who advocated the urgent need to address gaps in informatio­n and also invest more in health advised that identified sources of illicit drugs should be thoroughly investigat­ed.

According to him, among steps being taken by the state government to address drug abuse included continuous awareness programmes in schools and other public gatherings such as markets and places of worship.

He said, “The Psychiatri­c Department of the ekiti State University Teaching Hospital offers targeted services to persons who suffer from physical and mental effects of drug abuse.”

“With verified, evidenceba­sed informatio­n backed up with the necessary action, we can end drug abuse and illicit traffickin­g in our state and in Nigeria.”

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