As part of efforts to curb the menace of illicit drug use and misuse in the society, road transport workers, market women, parents, guardians, health workers, as well as students, have been advised to assist the government in sensitising people around them about the dangers of illicit drug use.
The call was recently made by Dr (Mrs) Moyosore Adejumo, director of pharmaceutical services, Lagos State Ministry of Health, while speaking at this year’s Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALPs), Lagos State Chapter Day, which was held at Mushin Local Government Secretariat, Palm Avenue, Mushin, Lagos.
Adejumo, who was represented by Pharm. (Mrs) Adenike Obileye, explained that drugs have the power both to improve and to damage health, depending on the type of drug used, the quantity consumed and the purpose for which it is taken.
She added that a drug is abused when it is not medically necessary or when used in excess of recommended dose.
According to her, drugs commonly abused include Amphetamine–type stimulants, cannabis, coca/cocaine, hallucinogens, opiates and hypnotic sedatives, all of which have immediate physical effects which might feel pleasant, but could turn one into an addict.
“In Nigeria, addicts have coded names for some of these drugs that are abused, including sepe, igbo, Alomo, eja, ogidiga and so on. Drugs can also severely hinder physiological and emotional development, particularly in young people who are mostly vulnerable to drug abuse.
“Majority of drug abuse starts in Adolescents, especially for the “gate way” drugs, alcohol and cigarettes which are usually the first substances used before other drugs are tried out,” Adejumo said.
Earlier in her welcome address at the event, Pharm. (Mrs) Modupe Ologunagba, chairperson of ALPs, Lagos, hinted that the reason for the annual “ALPs Day” was to create additional avenue for acquainting the public with the vital roles of lady pharmacists in health care delivery and social developmental work, adding that the group was delighted to celebrate this year’s edition with the people at the grassroots, especially the students of Mushin Local Government.
Ologunagba also noted that the reason for opting to speak with road transport workers, market women, parents, guardians as well as students of Mushin Community was based on ALPs concern and desire for improvement in the country’s health indices, especially as regards drug abuse, misuse and self-medication, which are common among the grassroots dwellers.
“We are celebrating ALPS Day which is a sub-section of the PSN Pharmacy Week that is on-going today in Mushin Community. We chose the theme, “Role of Lady Pharmacists in Curbing Drug Abuse and Misuse” because illicit use of drugs is a global issue, most especially now in Nigeria with the current economic recession.
“To tackle the challenge of drug abuse, awareness is key and that is why we are embarking on this awareness programme. Education is also important, but most importantly, the drug laws have to be more stringent while organisations that are saddled with the responsibility should be up and doing,” she said.