The Provost, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta, Ogun State, has lamented the ravaging effects of drug abuse in the country, noting that it was fast becoming a pandemic.
He revealed that 70 per cent of patients at the rehabilitation facility are drug addicts.
Agboola, who made this disclosure to the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday, however, said drug abuse was not peculiar to Nigeria, as the menace was being experienced globally.
He said, “I can tell you that over 70 per cent of our patients, apart from the fact that they have primary health problems, also have additional drug abuse or addiction problems with it.
“Drug abuse is in an epidemic proportion, just like the case of COVID-19 infection. Drug abuse among our youths is a very alarming situation, not only in this country but all over the world and that is why we say it is a pandemic.
“Some youths that are taking this thing may not even know that it is cannabis (weed). We have cases of modern technology where cannabis is now made into cakes or sweets and youths unknowingly take them when they are served at parties.”
The provost said in order to check the alarming rate at which the youths abuse drugs, especially cannabis, all hands must be on the deck.
Agboola identified peer pressure, social media fantasies and increase in modern technologies as some of the factors responsible for the increase in illicit drug use.
He urged parents to be wary of their children’s movement and who they socialize with, while also taking their upbringing seriously.
The provost stressed the need for government to review the nation’s laws as they affect mental health and drug abuse.
He added, “Fortunately, the National Assembly has reviewed the Mental Health Bill and we are only waiting for the president’s assent. Then, we can have a robust programme that is meant to control the spread of drug abuse and also treat other medical conditions that come with drug addiction.
Agboola said the hospital, on its part, was constructing two more wards in addition to the two existing ones, to accommodate patients with drug addiction problems.
He explained that the four wards would solely be responsible for patients, not just those with mental health issues, but with drug addiction problems.
He said, “We have two wards that contain both male and female wards; phase one and phase two, and they mainly for the treatment of patients with drug addiction.
“We recognise the gravity of the problem and our hospital is the leading centre for treatment of these people. We also train other hospitals for the treatment of people with addiction problems. So we are up to the task.”