The Medical Director, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Dr. Olayemi Ogun says the outbreak of COVID-19 has further exposed many young adults to the world of drug addiction.
She disclosed that 80 per cent of patients in her facility are into substance abuse.
According to the World Health Organisation, the use of psychoactive drugs and psychotropic substances without medical supervision is associated with significant health risks and can lead to the development of drug use disorders.
The WHO also stated that untreated drug use disorders increase risks of morbidity and mortality for individuals, trigger substantial costs to society including lost productivity, increased health care expenditure, and costs related to criminal justice, social welfare, and other social consequences.
“Evidence clearly shows that drug use disorders are best managed within the public health system, like other chronic medical problems such as HIV infection or hypertension.
“Nevertheless, the idea of including the treatment of drug use disorders in the health care systems still face resistance, partly owing to a delay in transferring science to policy and ultimately to the implementation of evidence-based clinical practices,” WHO stated.
Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, the Yaba Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital medical director disclosed that there was an unprecedented surge of substance abuse during the COVID-19 lockdown.
She maintained that quite a huge number of people turned to alcohol during the pandemic owing to COVID-19 misinformation that the virus can be cured with hot drinks.
“What we observed in our facility this year is that there was an upsurge in the number of patients with a substance disorder. Where we use as Short-Stay Ward, we now have 80 per cent of them, especially males, being drug patients. Before now, we have a dedicated drug ward but currently, our short-stay Ward has been converted to drug ward.
“However, I don’t think it is just due to COVID-19 alone. I think it is a systemic problem because the consumption of these alcoholic drinks goes with Indian hemp and smoking. With the lockdown, the only people they hang around with are all their counterparts in smoking and betting”, she explained.
The psychiatrist remarked that although things are getting better now, the outbreak of COVID-19 forced many people into mental torture and depression because of some factors.
Ogun noted that the lockdown also compelled many patients with and without pre-existing mental illness to stay away from the hospital.
“Their illness escalated leading to so many issues. Even those who had issues with substance use could not go anywhere. They had no friends except to continue hanging out at places where illicit drugs are sold.
“To them, those were the only places where they could get solace. Of course, that would surely escalate their pre-existing mental illness. This is not hypothetical. They are things that happened to our people,” she said.
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