A mental health advocate, Mr Anegbode Odion, has cautioned the youth to desist from drug abuse in the interest of their mental health.
Odion, the Vice-President of Heritage Advancement Forum (HAF), gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.
He warned that youths should stop abusing drugs and substances to forestall mental health problems, adding that over 90 per cent of mental illnesses were caused by drug abuse.
Odion regretted that many youths did not know the implications of drug involvement, saying that it could affect someone’s mental, moral, financial and physical behaviour.
According to him, it is imperative to make youths understand the mental health implications of their action in abusing drugs.
He explained that the chronic use of drugs by youths could lead to short and long term changes in the brain, which could lead to mental health issues such as memory loss, depression, anxiety and hallucination.
“Many youths did not know the adverse effects of prolonged drug abuse on their mental health.
“Drug abuse can ruin one’s life and make one useless for life.
“If someone who has the inherent tendency of developing mental illness smokes cannabis, it may trigger the mental problem to surface and such person will start having mental illness.
“This is because an inherited mental illness requires other factors to push it out. So, to be on the safe side, it’s advisable to shun all forms of drug/substance abuse.’’
According to him, many persons who are addicted to drug and substance over a long period of time are often diagnosed of mental disorder.
The mental health advocate said that drugs like marijuana and cocaine could have negative effects on memory and learning.
Odion lamented that many Nigerians never knew that alcohol was also considered as drugs and the prolonged in-take of it could lead to mental health problems like memory loss, damages to the brain and vision.
He stated that in spite of the advocacies, campaigns and interventions to curb drug abuse, people (particularly youths) still had access to drugs.
He said, “It is unfortunate that most of the youths are into drug abuse.
“There are some parts of Lagos that you will enter and you will be shocked at the way men and women, boys and girls of about 13 to 15 years old are smoking and abusing drugs.’’
While calling for punitive government measures to limit access to illicit drugs, Odion advised parents to take responsibility for the upbringing of their children for the good of the society.
He also urged relevant stakeholders to intensify campaigns on the negative impact of drugs and substance abuse on the mental health of people and their overall health.
Source: News Agency of Nigeria