Psychiatric Cases: Expert Wants Heavy Tax on Cigarette, Alcohol

In a bid to reduce the prevalence of psychiatric and other related cases in the country, Dr Olajumoke Koyejo, a consultant addiction psychiatrist at the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, has advised the Federal Government to impose heavy 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)vof the Postgraduate Medical College Fellows Association.

She disclosed that Lagos state had the highest prevalence of substance use in Nigeria.

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

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It was reported that psychoactive substances were chemical substance that changes the function of the nervous system and results in alterations of perception, mood, cognition and behaviour.

Koyejo believed that with higher taxation, this would make the psycho-substances to be beyond the reach of the purchasing powers of average Nigerians, saying that prevalence rate of pscho-substance use in Nigeria was at 14 per cent.

She added that the prevalence was twice higher than the world prevalence 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 out 9f the use of substance abuse in Nigeria, for me, is more of prevention. We cannot do prevention without taking the ministry of education into consideration,” she said.

According to her, there were evidence-based ways of handling prevention of substance abuse.

“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 had responsibility of taking care of their well-being.

The expert spoke on the theme: “Physician Well-being and Burn Out”.

According to him, physicians needed to care for their health for the sake of patients, adding that this could be done through reduction in our workloads.

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

“Doctors should deliberately create their own social support system. 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 cause of burnout, while advising healthcare providers to have friends to talk to, and shun excess work-load.