The Provost and Medical Director of the Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Dr. Paul Agboola yesterday called on the Federal Government to urgently declare a state-ofemergency on drug abuse. Agboola raised the alarm that, if substance abuse is not urgently checked by the government, it may destroy Nigeria.
The doctor stated this in an interview with journalists on the sidelines of the annual general meeting and scientific conference of the Association of Residence Doctors in the hospital. An easy writing and debate competition with the topic: “Legalisation of Cannabis: A blessing or a curse” was organised for students of secondary schools to mark the event.
The Medical Director, who lamented the increasing rate of drug abuse among youths, disclosed that 80 percent of patients being treated in the hospital are drug related cases. Agboola also charged the Federal Government to fight drug abuse the same way it is tackling the COVID- 19 pandemic. He described the bill at the National Assembly seeking the legalisation of cannabis use in Nigeria as a misplaced priority. According to him, legalising cannabis use in Nigeria will serve as a major obstacle in the fight against drug abuse, especially among the youths. He opined that the government must put measures in place to mitigate undesirable use of cannabis before such a bill can be considered. His words: “There is a need for the Federal Government to declare a stateof- medical emergency on drug abuse, it is long overdue.
“The major problem the youths now have is drug use. They abuse all sorts of medications, even the prescribed drugs and we are all seeing what is happening. “There are a lot of drugs that our youths are using and it is killing them. Some of them when they take these drugs they feel invincible, some of them will jump from three storey buildings because at that point the drugs make them feel like they are on top of the world and this is a false claim.” Speaking in the same vein, the Head of Clinical Services of the hospital, Dr Lucky Onofa said, almost 50 percent of the Nigerian population is into substance abuse.