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Experts Proffer Solutions to Challenges of Drugs/Substance Abuse in Nigeria

 

A group of professionals in the health sector have decried the increasing rate of misuse and abuse of illicit, as well as prescribed drugs among Nigerians. This is coming on the heels of rising rate in criminal activities like kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery and suicides, coupled with avoidable health risks involved.

Speakers at the annual lecture

Panelists and speakers made the clarion call during this year’s edition of the annual “Health Talk” organized by the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Miracle Area, Lagos Province 57, Ojodu, Lagos. The theme of this year’s health weekend programme was, “The Challenges of Drugs and Substance Abuse in our Society”.

Left to Right: Pastor Godfrey Iluobe, host pastor; Dr. Dominion Charles-Davies, medical director of Brafus Specialist Hospital, Lagos; Dr. Mabel Charles-Davies of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan; Dr. Wale Ige, a retired assistant Commander General of Narcotics, NDLEA; Dr, Funmi Ige, president of Medical Women Association of Nigeria and Dr. Henrietta NwamakaIgbokwe, head of Pharmaceutical Microbiology & Biotechnology, Faculty of Pharmacy/College of Medicine, University of Lagos, during the annual Health Talk/Lecture organized recently by the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Miracle Area, Lagos Province 57, Ojodu, Lagos

The lead speaker was Dr. Henrietta Nwamaka Igbokwe, who is the head of Pharmaceutical Microbiology & Biotechnology, Faculty of Pharmacy/College of Medicine, University of Lagos. She described every drug as a potent poison, which should be handled with utmost caution. Igbokwe described drug abuse as “an extreme desire to obtain and use increasing or decreasing quantity of one or more drug(s), which is a global concern particularly among youth.” She also said drug misuse occurs when a drug is used for the purpose it is not intended and drug addiction as a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the drug addict and those around him/her. She also listed acts of drug abuse and misuse as amongst others: forgetting to take the drug, stopping a medication as soon as one gets well, accepting prescription medication from a friend or relation, taking drugs for reasons other than what they were prescribed and taking a medication that was prescribed for someone else.

In addition, Dr. Igbokwe urged people not to use their own money to buy madness, stupidity, which could eventually lead to untimely death. She also admonished parents to be on the alert and watch out for their children’s behavorial pattern to ascertain if they’ve slipped into drug abuse. Some of the consequences of drug abuse she listed are: brain damage, liver damage, damage to unborn babies, impaired visual ability, cancer, anaemia, respiratory illness, kidney damage or failure, panic attacks, memory loss and premature death.

Corroborating the danger posed to general well-being through drug abuse, Dr. Wale Ige, a retired assistant Commander General of Narcotics at the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA said the menace is a global problem which must be tackled holistically. He described poor parental care as the major root cause of drug /substance abuse by the youths “There are so many good qualities that parents supposed to imbibe in their children from infancy, but our society is failing in that regard. The word of God says, train up a child the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it, according to Proverbs 22:6”, Dr. Ige concluded.

Also speaking, Dr, Funmi Ige, an anesthetist, who is also the president of Medical Women Association of Nigeria explained that patients who have been involved in drug abuse and need to undergo surgery for one ailment or the other could have issues with reactions before, during and after such operation. The illicit drugs they have ingested into their system could affect their pulse, heartbeats and blood pressure, leading to hallucination, paranoia and acute nausea. Also drugs administered under anesthesia could cause drug interaction within the abusers, she emphasized.

Rounding up the day, Dr. Mabel Charles-Davies of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan likened drugs to a thief, as vividly captured in the book of John 10:10; ”The thief cometh, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: ….” She therefore urged Nigerians to run away from such destructive act.

The moderator of the event, who is also the medical director of Brafus Specialist Hospital, Ogba, Lagos, Dr. Dominion Charles-Davies commended the initiator of the annual health progamme, Pastor Godfrey Iluobe for his tenacity and understanding to the benefit of inculcating spiritual education with the medical and mental enlightenment for his congregation.

The annual programme was initiated and started by Pastor Iluobe in 2015 while he was the parish pastor of the Abundant Life Parish, Denro Akute. It was later replicated when he was posted to the Mighty God Parish of the RCCG LP 57 headquarters. The 2024 edition is the first of its kind in the RCCG, Miracle Area, LP 57, his new parish. Iluobe promised that if Jesus tarries in his coming, next year’s edition will be greater.

 

 

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