Unified Initiative for a Drug Free Nigeria (UIDFN) in collaboration with the International Substance Abuse and Addiction Coalition (ISAAC) on 16 August, 2017 organised an interactive forum at Federal University Oye Ekiti, entitled          “Understanding Drug Abuse/Addiction Situation in Nigeria, the Sustainability and Best Practices in Addiction Recovery Support Programme.”

Speaking at the event, founder of ISSAC, Mr. Treflyn .L. Roberts enunciated on the dangers of drug abuse and its effects while maintaining that addiction recovery is possible because change is possible. He stated that change in any behavioural pattern starts with a process until an effect is noticed. Mr. Treflyn disclosed that the journey of change actually starts with a decision while action steps, continuity and maintenance are vital forces for effecting change in one’s behavior. He likened change to hair growth in the human body where the hair needs to grow and be maintained, else the visible changes that one aspires to see relapses.

He furthered talked on the three major dependency that needs to be broken in the process of change which include physical, psychological and social dependency. Physical dependency include breaking all addictions to unwanted habits while psychological dependency presupposes our brain telling us that we need to indulge in a frequent habit because we have programmed it to be so. Social dependency entailed indulgence in a habit because one wants to keep up with an already held social status.

Ekiti State Director of NAFDAC, Mr. Gonzuk .B. made a striking contrast between drug and drug abuse. He defined drug as any substance when taken modifies the hormonal function of the body of an animal or man while abuse of drug simply meant an intentional improper use of any drug for non-medical purposes.

He also identified likely traits that are associated with one who may be at risk of drug abuse which include; sudden behavioural changes like been noisy or extremely quiet, abrupt change of attitude, sudden decline in academic intelligence and criminal tendencies. Some of the commonly abused drugs were identified as Marijuana, Alcohol, cocaine and crack cocaine, sythentic drugs, crystal meth, methamphetamine, heroine and inhalants.

A major highlights of some of the short and long term effects on the abuse of drug include; loss of coordination, distortion of vision and hearing, sleep distortion, reddening of eyes, comprehension loss, nausea, muscle tension, depression, involuntary teeth clenching, convulsion, hallucination and  paranoid. The long term effects on an individual include psychotic symptoms like madness (mental derangement), lung and kidney infections and possible collapse, auditory and visionary defects, cardiovascular issues like increased heart rate, high blood pressure, damage to blood vessels in the brain and memory impairment.

He added that drugs are essentially poisons and the amount taken determines the effect. He also stated that youths are at a high risk of drug abuse because of their impressionable tendencies and experimental instincts. Thorough counselling and possible detoxification were some of the treatment prescription recommended for victims of drug abuse.

In a courtesy call to the vice chancellor, Prof. Kayode Soremekun commended the efforts of the oragnisers of the programme for the sensitization and fight against drug abuse and drug usage among youths especially as drug abuse has been perceived a global problem with its attendant negative effects. He stated that his administration is open to welcome more collaborations with the association for the general purpose of stemming drug abuse and illict drug use among Nigerian youths.