Mental health experts have dispelled the notion that there is a class difference in the increasing trends of drug abuse among youths in Nigeria.
They noted that contrary to assumptions, children from wealthy homes are also abusing all sorts of drugs just like children from less rich homes.
They added that the fact that children from wealthy homes easily have money to get drugs to quench their pain, disappointments, and failures enables them to have access to some very dangerous drugs.
According to the experts, there are, however, some different factors fuelling drug abuse by children from wealthy homes as well as the kind of drugs they abuse.
Speaking with our correspondent, the experts, Consultant Psychiatrist and the Medical Director and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Neuro-psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Dr. Olugbenga Owoeye, and a Nigerian-trained but American based Psychiatrist, Academic, and Addiction Expert, Dr. John Akinbote, said it has become necessary to address factors fuelling substance abuse by youths from wealthy homes as well those from a poor background.
Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, Dr. Owoeye said it was important to stress that children from wealthy homes as well as those from poor backgrounds now abuse drugs, even though the types of drugs they are exposed to and abuse are different.
The Medical Director of the Federal Government owned psychiatric hospital said the factors fuelling drug abuse among children from wealthy homes are also different.
He said, “There are many factors that lead to substance use disorder – biological, psychological, and social.”
“Biological is genetic and hereditary. Psychological is personality and psychological disorders, mental health disorders.”
“Some of them may want to use it as a coping mechanism or to self-medicate.”
“The social factors include the areas where they live, whether it’s a drug-prone area, the type of friends they have in schools – peer pressure. The list is inexhaustible.”
“Now, the type of drugs that any of these adolescents or young adults abuse depends on the environment and the availability of such drugs in such environment.”
“For example, all these drugs are available almost everywhere but there are some that are peculiar to the slum. In the slum, you have alcohol in various types and concussions. And that is where you also see Indian Hemp of various types, of various combinations, and cannabis of various types and combinations.”
“Cannabis of various grades and combinations are also available in some high-brow areas too.”
“However, there are some other drugs which are common now in the high brow areas like all these injectables, for example, that is where you see them injecting themselves.”
“Some other expensive drugs are also available in the high brow areas such as cocaine and heroine. So you see that those people from environments where there is some degree of affluence are highly involved in all these. Where you have various sophisticated hubs and restaurants. So these are the places where you have these sophisticated drugs.”
@ Punch Newspaper