The president of the Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN), Dr. Taiwo Sheikh, said a recent study indicated that 85% of mad people in Nigeria are youths within the age bracket of 18-38.
According to Daily Independent, Sheikh made the disclosure in an interview in Abuja on Tuesday, May 8. The psychiatrist said that the high figure poses a serious threat to the future of Nigeria.
He added that from the association’s investigation, causes of mental disorder among youths were beyond drug abuse as the youths now inhale lizard faeces. “They also put their noses in pit toilets and smoke matchsticks to get high,” he said.
Sheikh said that most of the youths affected by the lifestyle were between the ages of 18 and 38, the most productive segment of the population.
He called on the federal government and relevant agencies not to treat the problem lightly as investigations had shown that the lifestyle was common among the rich, poor, male and female. His words: “People always think that this is a problem common among the poor and jobless but studies show that even the working class is not left out.
“Current studies carried out in the northwest shows that women are not left out in substance use disorders either. We found that not only young or single ladies are involved, but housewives and mothers.
“It is sad that this category of people, who are supposed to be parents looking after their children, go around misusing drugs like cough mixtures and pain-killers. “Our young men are sniffing lizard faeces, they are putting their noses into pit toilets to inhale things from there and they are also smoking matchsticks.
“It is now beyond the abuse of drugs sold in pharmacies. “Before now, when you talk of substance use disorder, your mind goes to use and abuse of substances like heroin, Indian hemp or cocaine but this trend has changed.”
He reiterated the need to intensify efforts to educate citizens on the dangers and health risks of engaging in substance abuse. The APN president said that engaging in the campaign was crucial as getting addicted to drugs and substances was quite easy.
Sheikh advised the general public to always seek medical advice when not in a state of good health, rather than resorting to self-medication. He noted that self-medication could trigger a lifestyle of drug abuse. The poll revealed that 91% of Nigerians believe that there is a high level of drug and substance abuse in the country.
The survey further stated that drugs and substances are prevalent in the country and cut across gender and geopolitical zones.