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Drug abuse, a threat to mental health, national security — NAFDAC

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The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, (NAFDAC), has cautioned against the effects of drug abuse saying, it poses a threat to mental health and national security.

Speaking at the maiden Annual National Security Summit in Abuja with the theme, “Covid-19, Drug Abuse, Mental Health: Implications to National Security,” NAFDAC Director General, Professor Moji Adeyeye, said that the future of Nigeria depends largely on the nature and quality of youths that the country produces, warning that a child that grows up under frustrating conditions would develop psychological problems with time and possibly become dangerous in adulthood.

NAFDAC’s DG who was represented by the agency’s Director of Narcotics and Controlled Substances, Dr Musa Umar, said that conditions related to Covid-19 are known to have increased economic deprivation and feelings of social isolation which are factors that can contribute to increased drug use.

Adeyeye, in a statement by NAFDAC’s Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, declared that any society that seeks to achieve adequate military security against the background of acute food shortages, population explosion, low level of productivity and per capita-income, high rate of illiteracy, a fragile infrastructure/technological development, inadequate and insufficient public utilities, and chronic unemployment, has a false sense of security.

According to her, drug abuse is both a health and social problem, stressing that tackling the menace requires a balanced approach touching on all aspects related to the complex relationship between lack of opportunities, drug abuse, mental health, and national security.

“Security, today, has gone beyond the notion of the physical safety and survival of a state from internal or external threats to include all the interlocking realms of economic self-reliance, social cohesion, and political stability. It borders on how people would live a long and healthy life.

‘’Human development is about enlarging people’s choices to live a long and healthy life, to acquire knowledge and to have access to resources needed for a decent standard of living (UNDP, 1990:10). In the absence of these essential choices, many other opportunities remain inaccessible on a sustainable basis,” she said.

The NAFDAC boss stated that lack of opportunities, inequality, poverty, and mental health conditions are known factors that push people into drug use, stressing that the Illicit drug economies in poor and marginalised urban neighbourhoods is often driven by poverty.

Adeyeye, while quoting the 2018 Drug Use in Nigeria Survey, argued that about 14.4% or 14.3 million people aged between 15 and 64 years used drugs in Nigeria compared to a 2016 global annual prevalence of any drug use of 5.6% among adult population.

According to her, the survey revealed that the highest-level drug use was among those aged between 25 and 39 years, which is a matter of great concern, being the main productive age range in the youthful population of Nigeria.

 

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