Prof. Elizabeth Egbochukwu of the Department of Educational Evaluation and Counselling Psychology, University of Benin, Edo State, has lamented the increasing cases of mental health disorder in the country, stressing that organising “prevention programmes” that involves the family on drug abuse and substance use is key to reducing the malady. She made the call while delivering a lecture at a three days intensive workshop organised by the Drug Abuse Treatment Education and Research (DATER) unit of the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Uselu, Benin City in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) with the theme, “Prevention and Management of Psychoactive Drug use”. Other erudite scholars and medical expert including the host and medical director, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, (FNPH) Uselu, Benin City, Dr. Sunday Olotu, also harped on the dangers of drug taking and need to keep off drugs and banned substance use. Olotu said the essence of the workshop is to engage critical actors and stakeholders including medical professionals in education and health sector to create a new integrated system to fight drug abuse and substance use. Egbochukwu, who was represented by Dr. Ose Aihie, said drug abuse and substance use can be drastically reduced if adequate prevention programs targeted at addressing mental health challenges and ailments are organised periodically to sensitize the public on the dangers of drug abuse and substance use. Lamenting the increasing cases of mental health disorders, Egbochukwu said psychoactive drug use and addiction is a preventable disease adding that cases have shown that prevention programs that involve the family, schools, communities and the media are effective in reducing drug abuse.
She added that many events and cultural factors perceived drug abuse as harmful, as well as help reduce drug taking. “It is necessary therefore to help youths and the general public to understand the risks of psychoactive drug use and for teachers, parents and the healthcare professionals to keep sending the message that drug addiction can be prevented if a person never abuse drugs,” Egbochukwu said.

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