Posted on: Fri 29-03-2024

Some health professionals have called for holistic means of tackling drug misuse and achieving a drug-free society.

The experts, Managing Director of Serenity Royale Hospital, Dr Kunle Adesina; Dr Abubakar Salami, Dr Sam Abah, Hajiya Salamatu Farouq Salamatu and David Folaranmi, spoke at ‘Fly above the High conference,’ in Abuja.

The conference was with the theme: ‘A multi-dimensional approach to creating a drug-free society.’

One of the guest speakers, Dr Adekunle Adesina, described addiction as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterised by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences.

Adesina said, “A large body of evidence spanning several decades has documented that the children of parents who abuse alcohol, tobacco, and drugs (henceforth collectively referred to as parental substance abuse) are more likely to develop a variety of emotional, behavioural, physical, cognitive, academic, and social problems in the future.

“Parental substance abuse interrupts a child’s normal development, which places these youngsters at higher risk for emotional, physical and mental health problems.”

On how to achieve a drug-free society, Adesina said, “Addiction affects every member of the family and so treatment should not only be focused on the sufferer but every member of the family, and the family members need therapy and intervention as much as the addict.”

Also speaking on the ‘Role of family in drug demand reduction,’ Dr Salamatu Yahaya maintained that the family unit was the most important stakeholder in the quest for drug demand reduction.

Yahaya said, “Spouses, parents, brothers, sisters, and extended family members are all stakeholders and must put in efforts and measures to counter the menace of illicit drug sales and use.”

Speaking on the way forward, Yahaya said, “Manufacturers and distributors of illicit drugs and other related substances are part of our society.

“All families should look beyond the immediate self and become active participants in drug demand reduction by taking up the civic responsibility of reporting persons involved in either production, distribution or consumption of illicit drugs to the appropriate authority.”

In his lecture, Dr Sam Abah said “With repeated drug exposure, the brain may adapt to the presence of the substance, leading to tolerance, where higher doses of the drug are required to achieve the desired effects.

chronic drug use can lead to physical dependence, characterised by withdrawal symptoms when the drug is discontinued.

“Chronic drug use can dysregulate the brain’s stress response systems, including the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

“Drugs can alter the release of stress hormones such as cortisol, leading to increased stress sensitivity and exacerbation of anxiety or depressive symptoms,” Abah added.