The number of 'science students' (drug abusers and addicts) is increasing across Nigeria and it is becoming a source of concern even for psychiatrists.

A consultant psychiatrist, Dr. Raphael Ogbolu, is concerned that the drugs needed to treat drug abusers are beyond what the abusers can afford.

He appeals to the Federal Government to include the treatment of people suffering from drug abuse in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Dr. Ogbolu believes that adding drug abuse treatment in the scheme would help to improve mental health in the country.

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The psychiatrist who is a staff of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba in Lagos State, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Lagos that many patients, especially youths; suffering from various forms of mental illness caused by drug abuse could not afford the cost of treating them.

Ogbolu is also the Coordinator of the Suicide Research and Prevention Initiative and Staff Emotional Care (SURPINCES) of LUTH.

He attributed the paucity of funds usually suffered by the patients to their inabilities to be employed to earn salaries or wages due to the illness and stigma. 

The consultant advised governments to place stiffer penalties on those selling Opioids drugs, that cause mental disorders, without prescriptions from approved pharmacists.

This would help the country to combat drug abuse, he said. 

Also Read: Nigeria To Shut Open Drug Market By 2019 

Opioids are substances primarily used for pain relief, including anesthesia.

Ogbolu added that the "governments should also collaborate with doctors, policy makers, psychiatrists, pharmacists and government agencies to eradicate the abuse of drugs". 

He said drug abuse was a risk factor for depression and mental illness which could lead to suicide.

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