A consultant psychiatrist, Dr Rahman Lawal, has admonished the federal government to ensure regulation about who prescribes drugs in Nigeria in order to curtail the menace of codeine-containing cough syrup.
The consultant made the call at the 49th annual General and scientific meeting of the Association Of Psychiatrists in Nigeria, held recently in Lagos.
“There should be regulation about who prescribes drugs. These drugs should not be available to just anybody in order to curtail the menace of codeine-containing cough syrups.
“There are some sensitive drugs we need to prescribe for our patients but should be prescribed by certain doctors.
“Unfortunately in Nigeria, virtually every drug can be purchased over the counter, ”the consultant said.
Dr Lawal, who spoke extensively on the increase of suicide in the country, said that the lasting solution to it is awareness creation.
“Suicide is an increasing problem in our population and the only way to come out of this is awareness creation. We should let people know that there is no problem without a solution. It is when they think that there is no solution that they think the end has come.
“Awareness creations tells people that those who commit suicide first develop depression, and there are very simple elements of depression that can be elicited along this line.
“Unfortunately, our people don’t know that this problem starts with environmental one and at the end of depression is suicide.
“If you can create awareness so that people can identify those who are depressed early, the incidence of suicide will go down.
“People would say it is the economic recession of a country, but this is not so because recession will always come,” he said.
Speaking also, the president of the association, Dr Taiwo Lateef, said that the solution to the scourge of substance abuse is to fight brain drain.
“There is a problem of brain drain. The experts that are supposed to deal with this matter are running away from the country because of so many reasons, including “lack of good working conditions. Some of them finished training and don’t get jobs; lack of laws that will ensure mental health care in Nigeria.
“The most vulnerable people to substance abuse in Nigeria are the youths between the ages of 18 and 35.
“This age group is the core fabric of nation building. They represent the future of this country” Lateef said.
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