June 6, 2024

Central News

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Psychiatrist seeks steeper taxes on cigarettes

Consultant Addiction Psychiatrist at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, Dr. Olajumoke Koyejo wants government to impose heavier taxes on companies producing or importing cigarettes and alcohol.

Koyejo gave the advice in Ilorin at the on-going 2023 Annual Scientific Conference and Fellows Congress (ASCAF), of the Postgraduate Medical College Fellows Association. She statedd that Lagos State had the highest prevalence of substance use in Nigeria.

The expert who lamented the adverse effects of using psychoactive substances, said that about 65 per cent of patients battling with mental disorders were people who abused psychotropic drugs such as stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, inhalants, cannabis and narcotics.

Psychoactive substances are chemical substance that changes the function of the nervous system and results in alterations of perception, mood, cognition and behaviour.

Koyejo said she believed that with higher taxation, this will make the psycho-substances to be beyond the reach of the average Nigerian, saying that prevalence rate of pscho-substance use in Nigeria is at 14 per cent, twice higher than the world average of 5.6 per cent.

“There is also the need for government to plan the environment better for people to have other means of recreation. Sports and others should be encouraged because you cannot take away what they use as a means of recreation (substance) without replacing it with something else.

“The way to go on substance abuse in Nigeria, for me, is more of prevention. We cannot do prevention without taking the ministry of education into consideration,” were some of her recommendations.

She continued: “It has been proven that some of the leading causes of drug abuse in the society are ignorance, curiosity and peer pressure. The implications of drug abuse on the society includes rapes, audacious robbery attacks, riots, economic sabotage, bullying, thuggery and a host of other forms of anti-social behaviours exhibited by people under the influence of hard drugs,” she warned.

Also in his paper presentation, Dr. Owoidoho Udofia, a Consultant Psychiatrist from the University Teaching Hospital, Calabar, submitted that doctors have responsibility of taking care of the well-being of addict/victims.

This expert spoke on the theme: “Physician Well-being and Burn Out,” in which he said physicians need to care for their health for the sake of patients and “this can be done through reduction in our workloads.”

The psychiatrist warned that “a sick doctor is a dangerous patient,” while also advising on the need for doctors to take responsibility for care of the people working under them.

“Doctors should deliberately create their own social support systema. This is because the work of a doctor comes with a lot of stress,” he said. Besides, he advised on the need to address the root causea of burnout, while advising healthcare providers to have friends to talk to, and shun excess work load.