Drug abuse and addiction is increasing among young Nigerians and parents have got a lot on their hands to save the future of the country with so many idle youths.

The increase is becoming alarming to the extent that it has caught the interest of the National Assembly and Nigerian artistes, one of whom is Olamide who recently made the phrase “Science Students” popular.

Dr Jibril Abdulmalik is a Consultant, Adolescent Psychiatrist, with the University College Hospital, (UCH), Ibadan.

He has seen so many cases of drug abuse and is worried that Nigeria needs to address it.

He highlighted that parental neglect and peer pressure were some of the factors responsible for drug abuse in adolescents.

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“Family background, where there is very little love and affection or where the young persons feel neglected as well as strong peer pressure determine whether they will turn to drug or not.

“Adolescents generally are very sensitive to peer group influence and desire social acceptance from their peers,” Dr. Abdulmalik told the News Agency of Nigeria.

According to Abdulmalik, other common risk factors for adolescent drug abuse included: low self-esteem and self-control as well as poor community networks or social support.

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Others he listed were: “Need to fight always, overcrowded neighbourhood and availability of drugs."

The psychiatric expert said that the prevalence of drug abuse was high among youths today because in cities, street corners and motor parks were common sites for obtaining drug supplies.

Alcohol, cannabis syrup with codeine are common drugs usually heavily abused by young adults these days, according to the consultant.

The consultant said that it was most unfortunate that some young and popular musicians also release albums which promote the use of drugs.

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Abdulmalik further said that every young person, regardless of socio-economic status or religious standing of parents, might be at risk of drug abuse.

He advised parents and care givers to realise that abuse of drugs remained a risk and so they should endeavour to scrutinise the type of company their children keep.

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