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Consultant Psychiatrist Tasks Families On Ensuring Children Desist From Drug Abuse

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) –  A Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Ngozichukwu Unaogu, on Saturday urged families to ensure that children and wards desist from experimenting or engaging in drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.

Unaogu, who is the Head, Training and Research of Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu, gave the task while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on the import of 2021 World Drug Abuse Day.

This year’s World Drug Abuse Day, which is celebrated every June 26, is with the theme: “Share Facts on Drugs and Save Lives’’.

Unaogu noted that families have a lot to do in terms of sensitizing the young ones against drug abuse since “the family is the smallest unit of the society’’.

According to her, every individual comes from a family and I think if each family trains and educates their wards against drug abuse and trafficking, the job will be less.

“When the fight against drug abuse and illicit trafficking is brought down to the family level, a lot will be achieved in stemming the menace and up scaling treatment at the neigbourhood, community, state and societal levels.

“There is a need for parents to find time to educate their wards on psycho-active substances and their various side effects on the physical, emotional and social aspect of their lives.

“I think if we take it from the cradle, from the family level, we will achieve more than we are achieving now.

“Because children will grow up with the knowledge and awareness that psycho-active substances or drugs are injurious to health. I also think it will reduce the demand and use of drugs,’’ she said.

Unaogu, who is also the Head of Training of International Society of Substance Use Professionals (ISSUP), also called on parents to monitor children’s behaviour, the friends they keep and their social engagements.

She advised parent to watch out for signs that suggest drug use in children, which includes withdrawal to oneself, being secretive, being aggressive or relapsing into depression, having strange objects or paper wrappers in school bags and their rooms.

“Other signs are: keeping secretive friends, keeping late at nights or staying outdoors excessively;  visiting morally injurious websites in the Internet and suddenly showing signs of disrespect and boldness,’’ the consultant psychiatrist said.

She also warned parents to protect their children against bad influence of adults that take alcohol, cigarette and Indian hemp around homes no matter how closely related to the family.

Unaogu said: “Make it clear that uncles and aunts taking one form of drug or alcohol do it outside the home and never to send a child on an errand to buy some for them.

“Most times, children will be tempted to experiment taking the remnant of the alcohol or smoke when asked to tidy-up the table in the guise of wanting to get a feel of what the substances give or do’’.

NAN reports that World Drug Abuse Day is meant to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving the goal of a world free of drug abuse. (NAN)


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