70% Nigerian youth involved in drug abuse – Expert

Over 70 per cent of young Nigerians are involved in drug abuse, with 80 per cent of the abusers being children of the rich and elite, a medical expert, Mr Tunde Banjo, has said.

He noted that some youth don’t even know that they are into abuse of drugs.

Speaking at one-day seminar on Drug Abuse Among Nigerian Adolescents: A Deter to National Development organised by Youth Interfaith Council (YIC) at the weekend, Banjo of National Eye Centre, Kaduna, said daily intake of beverage, kolanut, paracetamol and other analgesics without doctor’s prescription, excessive intake of cigarettes and alcohol all amount to drug abuse.

Banjo, whose paper was titled Effects of Drug Abuse on Young People, added that drug abuse could emanate from peer group pressure, ignorance, emotional or psychological stress, easy access, desperation, social pathologies, to heighten athletics performance and occupational susceptibilities, which could have medical, physical, social, economical and psychological effects.

“Any chemical substance incorrectly used is drug abuse. 70 per cent of young people are involved in drug abuse. Taking mineral daily, constant and frequent intake of coffee and painkillers, taking drugs that can change a person’s mood and perception, using drugs for non-medical purposes, are all abuse of drugs.

“Other forms of drug abuse include ingestion of cocaine, analgesics, cough syrup, snuff, cigarette, alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, inhalants, hallucinogens, amphetamines, coffee and sedatives. The effects of drug abuse include premature death, impotence, damage to the brain, liver, kidney, lung and heart,” he said.

According to the medical expert, while it’s easy to get into drug abuse, it’s often difficult to kick away the habit as such people continue to go deeper into it. He urged for strong desire and will power to stop the addiction using attitude, conscience and thinking.

Chairman of YIC, Sheriff Olutusin, said YIC was formed in 2012 to provide the platform for Muslim and Christian youth leaders to come together in sincere and concrete dialogue from the various perspectives to identify and address conflict and youth common and specific poverty related challenges. He said they try to preach love, peace, unity and justice.

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