The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, through its president, Mr Sam Ohuabunwa, has raised the alarm over the rising incidence of drug abuse in the country, especially among the youth.
Speaking during a briefing held in Lagos on Monday by the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy, Ohuabunwa warned that the abuse of drugs and other substances, which had become rampant in the last five years, was no longer restricted to only a fraction of the Nigerian population.
Blaming the problem on the current socio-economic situation in the country, he said it was obvious that many Nigerians had found it difficult to cope with the situation and so, they decided to escape the prevailing harsh realities by getting involved in drug abuse.
Ohuabunwa said, “For us as pharmacists, it is part of our responsibility to ensure that drugs are not abused or misused. Every medicine ought to pass through a pharmacy. Pharmacist should be of good conduct to ensure the efficacy and sustainability of drugs.”
He added that the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, the Nigeria Academy of Science and other stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry were ready to work with government at all levels to check the growing menace of drug abuse in the country.
Also, the Chairman of the Drug and Substance Abuse Committee of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy, Dr. Lolu Ojo, said the academy was ready to bring scientific knowledge to bear on the policies and strategic direction of the country with a focus on the development and advancement of pharmaceutical sciences, technology and innovation in Nigeria.
Ojo said the academy was worried that drug and substance abuse had become widespread particularly among the youthful population in Nigeria.
“The menace of drug abuse needs to be checked. Otherwise, it can impair all the efforts being made to put the nation on a higher and economic pedestal. As a frontline stakeholder in the matter, the academy has decided to mobilise all pharmaceutical professionals, trade and regulatory groups to come together and assist government efforts designed to eliminate the scourge from the society.
“We will be deceiving ourselves to think or believe that the situation is limited to geography or age. There is practically no major city in Nigeria that does not have hideouts or joints or clubs or ram-shackles where the young ones gather to buy these drugs of different descriptions to feel good,” Ojo said.
He added that there were unconfirmed reports that the age of use has gone down to seven or even slightly below which means that the children in primary schools were already involved in drug abuse.
Ojo said the academy would hold a symposium in Lagos on June 11 to proffer solution on how to curb the menace of drug abuse in the country.
“How did we get into this situation? What are the factors driving increased use of drugs and substances among our youthful population? What do we have to do to eliminate drug and substance use in Nigeria?
“The answers to these questions and many others will be provided during the programme that was mapped out to generate awareness, talk to the vulnerable and hold a symposium to sample the opinion of other stakeholders.”
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