‘Infectious Diseases Rampant Among Drug Addicts’

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A Non-Governmental Organisation, Bensther Development Foundation, says that infectious diseases are rampant among drug addicts in the society.

Executive Director of the foundation, Mr. Nonso Maduka, disclosed this during a Stakeholders’ Forum on Infectious Diseases, Drug use and Achieving SDG 3 on Tuesday in Enugu.

Maduka explained that infectious diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis C and B were prevalence among drug addicts, who inject the substance into their blood.
He further asserted that one out of three persons who used cannabis had a mental health problem.

He noted that not all drug addicts were criminals as different reasons made them drug addicts.

Maduka urged the public to always discourage illicit drug users from using drugs, through counselling, showing them kindness, and taking them to hospital for treatment.

“There is a lack of facilities and capacity at the community health centres and substance abuse is community-based.

“Even among the health professionals, they cannot help a drug addict, rather they often scold or maltreat such a person,” he alleged.

Maduka said that treatment of drug addicts could be by rehabilitation, counselling, providing vocational education, through community development, among others.

Also speaking at the event, a Consultant Psychiatrist at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu Dr. Justus Onu, said that drug addicts required treatment because it is a disease.

Onu called on the public to avoid blaming the drug users, instead, they should help them to get treatment.

“Treatment of drug addiction reduces the prevalence of drug-related crimes and as well reduces the transmission of HIV/AIDs,” he said.

The consultant added that drug addiction was one of the emerging epidemics in the society.

A Director at Enugu State Hospital Management Board, Mr. Sam Egwuonwu, however, noted that it was necessary to sensitise the public, especially at the community level about the danger associated with drug addiction.

Egwuonwu added that this would help in reducing illicit drug use among the youths.

A participant, Mrs. Amaka Ekoh said that the forum had made her realize why most drug

addicts should not be tagged criminals.

Mr. Helen Ojukwu, another participant said it was necessary to sensitise students on the danger of drug addiction.

(NAN)

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