Depression, withdrawal, conduct problems, personality disorders, suicidal thoughts, short-term memory and learning are some of the mental health problems associated with substance abuse that is fast becoming a pandemic in Nigeria.

This growing trend has become a source of worry to Dr. Oluyemi Ogun, a Medical Director, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos.

At the 8th Annual Symposium of Health Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HEWAN) held in Lagos with the theme: "The Menace of Counterfeit Drugs: The Role of Regulatory Bodies", Dr. Ogun said thousands of Nigerians, especially the youth used dangerous drug substances.

The doctor even said every family in Nigeria was affected.

"We have seen numerous scientific studies that highlight the physical damage — both to the brain and to the cardiovascular system — from drug abuse.

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"The ever-growing trend of drug abuse among Nigerian adults, and more importantly, teenagers calls for concern, as we are heading towards a drug abuse crisis in the country.

"As I speak with you, every family in Nigeria is now affected.

"The government is doing its best through its agencies such as the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to combat this menace but they need more support,’’ she said.

According to her abuse could affect the emotional, financial and psychological well-being of the entire family as well as every major system in the human body.

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She wants state governments to evolve their own strategies to combat this problem before it becomes intractable.

"I also urge religious bodies and the media to write more on the menace, to drum it into the hearing of the public so they can be more aware of drug abuse and the dangers that can develop from it," she said.

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