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Health News of Thursday, 9 August 2012

Source: GNA

About ninety per cent of mental illness attributed to drug and substance abuse

About ninety per cent of mental illness in the country are as a result of drug and substance abuse, Mr. Noble Asakeya Alagskomah, Principal Pharmacist Technologist of the Upper East Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has said.

The Principal Pharmacist made this observation when he delivered a lecture on “Effects of Drug Abuse” at a meeting of the Bolgatanga, Nangodi, Bongo and Tongo (BONABOTO) Students Union held in Bolgatanga on Tuesday.

He said alcoholic abuse was also associated with increased risk of committing criminal offenses including child abuse, domestic violence, rape, burglaries and assaults among others.

He said the situation if not checked would affect the development of the country, particularly the human resource, since most of the youth who constituted the nation's workforce were also caught in the menace.

Mr. Alagskomah stated that the situation in the Upper East Region was becoming worrisome as drug and substance abuses were becoming rampant among the youth. ”Most of the youth in the Region buy petrol and super glue to inhale. Others are also heavily engaged in the consumption of hard liquor such as ”akpeteshie” and smoking of marijuana“.

He said many residents in areas where drug addicts lived were filled with fear and did not sleep at night because they would get hurt. He suggested that to reverse the trend, the Municipal and District Assemblies should collaborate with the Ghana Health Service and Department of Social Welfare to equip relatives of the mentally challenged to enable them to confine the patients for proper care.

“All communities should be provided with recreational facilities in order to disengage the youth from social vices, with heavy taxes imposed on all alcoholic drinks”, he said.

He suggested that health professionals should be well resourced to give intensive health education and counseling to drug and substance abuse victims, and stressed the need for government to appoint Clinical Psychologists in all public health facilities to assist in addressing the psychological problems of the mentally challenged.

The outgoing President of the Union, Mr. Atubga David Atia, said since he took over as President of the Union, members had organized holiday classes and donated some medical equipment to the Bolgatanga Hospital.

He indicated that members of the Union in the past had also been assisting the Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly to mobilize revenue and would continue to assist in the development of the area.**

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