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Drug Abuse

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Monday, November 23rd, 2020
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Photo: PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

We have almost seen it all, we even never thought we have. #StopAbusingWomen, #StopAbusingMe and a lot of hashtags have been trends awash on the social media space. And this is due to the heart-rending reports of cases of rape and sexual abuse occurring in different parts of the country and the world as a whole. We have seen lots of people condemn rape and rapists in its totality which is very good. But then, there’s also a form of abuse that the majority of humanity is guilty of; DRUG ABUSE. Yes, you saw that, right?  Drug abuse. A lot of people abuse drugs under the “self medication” phenomenon, which poses a great threat to our health security.

De facto, it’s often said that “when the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable.” Now, what do you say when the purpose of a thing is known, but yet, it being abused is an occurrence that the society has not been able to prevent. We term it “self medication” so as to justify our actions, and not make it look wrong. But that’s far from it.

Self medication is the use of drugs to treat self-diagnosed disorders or continued use of prescribed drugs for chronic diseases or even mere symptoms. This is common to both developing and developed countries.

A research in Iran on self medication showed that 76% of her women had a history of self medication and 98.9% stored drugs at home. Let’s not even go far: coming back to Africa, a cross-sectional study was carried out at a University in Egypt that included first and last year students. In the same research, the prevalence of self medication was shockingly 62.9%. Even in my very own country, Nigeria, I can boldly say that self-medication is the new trend in our societies. It is, in fact, said that our mothers are “unlicensed doctors.” This is because they have prescriptions for every symptom, some of which are right and sometimes vice versa.

One of the most frequently abused drugs is paracetamol. Doing a personal research, I observed that there is usually that one person we know that uses 3 tablets of paracetamol before they can be relieved of some symptoms. If you ask them why they’re taking that outrageous number of tablets, they tell you 2 tablets doesn’t work for them anymore.

Why? This is because the microbes responsible for the symptoms have developed what is called DRUG RESISTANCE and due to that, the 2 tablets cannot suppress that effect anymore. For the purpose of clarity, drug resistance occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and viruses change in ways that render a medication used to cure an infection ineffective.

Another major and critical example is the use of anti- malaria drugs whenever we feel feverish. Not all feverish symptoms become diagnosed as malaria. In point of fact, it could actually be malaria, typhoid or even Coronavirus. Recently, it was observed that some people started using chloroquine as a cure against Coronavirus. The relevant medical authorities had to falsify the claim and other emerging fake news that it is yet to be confirmed as the cure for the novel COVID-19.

It’s indeed about time we stopped abusing drugs and stopped self medication. If you feel sick or have any symptoms, consult a doctor or a pharmacist before using any kind of drug. There have been cases of people who died as a result of using the wrong drugs or even injesting the wrong, unprescribed dosage. To mothers out there, we know you care a lot about your family and children, but please, stop prescribing drugs for your children with the involvement of a health worker.

It is very recommendable to follow the right process by visiting the hospital for consultation and examination. I hope you find this helpful and that you take action today!

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