As a means of extending hand of fellowship to the Lagos State Rehabilitation Centre, Isheri and inmates of the institution, the Board of Fellows of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (BOF-PSN) has donated drugs and food items worth a million naira to the centre, while highlighting the socioeconomic impacts of drugs and substance abuse to the nation.
The presentation, led by the BOF-PSN Chairman, Prof. (Mrs) Mbang Femi-Oyewo, had other executives in attendance such as Pharm. (Chief) Lanre Familusi; Chief (Mrs) Yetunde Moroundiya; and Pharm. (Mrs) Bridget Nwanchukwu.
Explaining their reason for the presentation of the items, the Chairman expressed their delight to show love to the inmates as well as support the Rehab’s staff efforts towards the quick recovery of the inmates who are mostly drug victims. She also stated that it is part of the Board’s project on campaign against drug/substance abuse, as drug/substance abuse is assuming an epidemic dimension, especially among children, adolescents and youths.
She asserted that more than 7 million people globally suffer from illicit drug disorder, and one in four deaths results from illicit drug use. In fact more deaths, illnesses and disabilities are associated with drug abuse than any other preventable health conditions. While people suffering from drug and alcohol addiction also have a higher risk of unintentional injuries, accidents and domestic violence incidents.
Prof. Femi-Oyewo identified lack of emotional support, disunited families, and stress of unfair expectations from teachers, parents and peers as major factors that predispose youths to drugs and substance abuse. “Though drugs have positive uses too, but as it is with the human nature, people tend to bend towards the negative side of the use of the drugs.
“Addiction to drugs today has played a vital role in increasing the rate of crime in Nigeria and all over the world. Most armed robbers walking on the streets are drug addicts and most of them did not have such habits before they went into drugs. One factor that has also contributed to increase in the rate of drugs and substance abuse is the availability of drugs on the street.
“Some of the abnormalities caused by drug/substance abuse include high blood pressure, rapid breathing, irritability, impulsiveness, aggression, insomnia, weight loss, intolerance, addiction, mental disorders and possible heart failure. Drug abuse can lead to marital problems and poor interpersonal relationship, declining grades, absenteeism and dropping out of school etc”, she listed.
The Professor of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology however assured patients of drug and substance disorder of treatment possibility, which makes the work of rehabilitation centres very crucial in the society, while praying that the labour of the rehab staff will not be in vain.
Appreciating the kind gestures of BOF-PSN, Director of Rehabilitation, Lagos State Ministry of Youths and Social Development, Mrs Toyin Jaiyeola, who spoke on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, thanked the executives profusely for remembering the less privilege, some of whom have been abandoned for years at the centre by their families, due to lack of resources to cater for them. She described the donation as an epoch making event for her administration at the centre, as the BOF-PSN executives are the first set of professionals to donate drugs to inmates since her assumption of office at the centre over two years.
She didn’t agree less with the position of the BOF-PSN Chairman on the state of drug and substance abuse in the country, saying drug abuse is one of the issues affecting most of the inmates, while there was no consultant psychiatrist with the absence of drugs to support the inmates on her arrival at the institution, but only a visiting consultant psychiatrist from Apapa General Hospital. However, with government intervention, she said a consultant psychiatrist has been deployed to the centre.
“We are so grateful for having these items today. It is a big intervention that will go a long way in addressing the needs of our inmates. While we are thankful for the partnership, like Oliver Twist, we want more, because we don’t have an ambulance and a host of other essential materials. We pray that the Almighty God will continue to support you”, she remarked.
In his own contribution, the Administrator, Lagos State vocational and rehabilitation centre, Isheri, Mr Sunkanmi Hassan, acknowledged that the Lagos State Government is aware of all the anomalies caused by drug and substance abuse in the state, as they are not resting on their oars to bring the situation under control. He disclosed that the state has just opened a new rehabilitation centre in Ajah for women alone, but admitted the inability of the government alone to handle the situation. Thus, he appealed to other professional bodies and well-meaning Nigerians to support the state in reducing the menace drastically in the state.