The President of the Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN), Dr Taiwo Sheikh, says that youths account for up to 85 per cent of psychiatric cases in Nigeria, due to drug and substance abuse.
Sheikh made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to him, the high figure poses a serious threat to the future of Nigeria.
He said that from the association’s investigation, causes of mental disorder among youths were beyond drug abuse as the youths y now inhaled lizard faeces.
“They also put their noses in pit toilets and smoke match sticks to get high.”
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 showed that the lifestyle was common among the rich, poor, male and female.
“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 North-West 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 mother.
“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 match sticks.
“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 heroine, 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 chief said that engaging in the campaign was crucial as getting addicted to drugs and substances was quite easy.
According to him, the moment you use these drugs once or twice, you get hooked as the substances are addictive.
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.