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April 14, 2024
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Drug Abuse

Psychiatrist tasks parents on drug abuse prevention, control

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By Lilian U. Okoro

Dr Martins Agwogie, the President of International Society of Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Professionals (ISSUP), has challenged parents in the fight against drug abuse, saying “family is vital in addressing substance/drug abuse in the society”.

Agwogie, also a Psychiatric Doctor, gave the challenge in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.

He said, “Family/parents are the first line of defence in successful efforts to prevent drug abuse”.

He, therefore, urged parents to rise up to their responsibilities and to monitor and guide their children to be responsible citizens.

According to him, good parenting can help to curb drug abuse.

He attributed drug abuse largely to lack of proper parental upbringing, “as many parents are too busy to render adequate parental-care to their children.”

Agwogie said research indicated that young people who reported strong ties with their parents and families are less likely to engage in risky behaviours, including substance abuse.

He emphasised the need for parents and the family at large to rise up to their responsibilities by keeping close watch on childrens’ activities for any change
in behaviour.

He explained that “the family plays a crucial role in drug abuse prevention by providing education, modeling drug-free behaviour, maintaining open communication, setting boundaries, monitoring activities and offering emotional support, among others.

“As a parent, always monitor your children closely to know when they are getting involved with drugs because drug abuse is a secret habit which may be difficult to identify.

“If a parent is close or friendly with his/her child, having established good relationship with the child, such parent will be able to know when the child is going astray or getting involved in illicit drugs.

“The moment a child starts school (either Primary, Secondary or University), try and keep a watch on him or her and monitor their activities.

“If they have phones, try to know their contacts and the kind of conversations they do with their friends and if possible, try to know their friends in person, including the families of their friends,” he advised.

He said that if parents noticed that their child is showing signs of an underlying mental health condition or unresolved trauma, they must seek prompt
medical attention.

He said this might mean setting up an appointment with a psychiatric professional or with a licenced therapist.

“When underlying mental health issues go untreated, they have the propensity to develop into drug abuse disorders over time,” he said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

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