Mental health: We’ll end drug abuse in Kano – Ganduje

By Ramatu Garba

Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, has expressed his administration’s commitment to ending drug abuse in the state.

Ganduje said this while declaring open a day sensitisation on mental health and substance abuse among youths, organised by the office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Health Matters, on Monday in Kano.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governor was represented by the Commissioner for Higher Education, Dr Mariya Mahmud-Bunkure.

He said that his administration had initiated some policies aimed at curtailing the menace of substance abuse in the state.

“We have provided a counselling and treatment centre for drug addicts, in addition to establishing a Female Anti-drug Ambassadors Committee.

“The committee is collaborating with community-based organisations (CBOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to raise awareness on mental health and substance abuse,” the governor said.

According to him, mental health and substance abuse are major problems bedevilling individuals, communities and nations.

Ganduje emphasised the need for more efforts on mental health, adding that substance abuse could lead to criminal activities, delinquency and other social vices.

“Preparations have reached advance stage for the smooth take up of Kano Drug Addiction and Control Agency (DACA), under the state ministry of health,” he said.

The governor called on youths to be conscious of drug abuse and take responsibility for their own mental health and wellbeing, urging all stakeholders to work together to fight against drug abuse.

Speaking at the occasion, Wife of the governor, Prof. Hafsat Ganduje, said that the state Female Anti-drug Ambassadors and Mental Health committees were working assiduously, through media engagements, to create awareness.

Also speaking, the special adviser on health matters, Dr Fauziyya Idris-Buba, said mental health issues could have adverse effect on individuals, irrespective of age, gender or social status.

According to her, youths are the most vulnerable due to the challenges they face, such as peer group pressure, academic stress and family problems.

Idris-Buba said research indicated that mental health problems, such as stress, anxiety and depression, if not treated, might lead to suicide, substance abuse and social isolation.

NAN reports that four papers were presented at the programme, one of which was entitled: “Understanding Mental Health and Mental Illnesses” and delivered by Dr Bashir Bala of Saadatu Rimi University of Education, Kumbotso, Kano State.

Bala called on parents and guardians to desist from stigmatising those engaged in substance abuse.

Also, while Dr Fatima Bala presented a paper entitled: “Preventing Mental Health Problems, Prof. Auwal Abubakar spoke on “Drug Abuse among Youths.”

NAN also reports that the event attracted students from secondary school and tertiary institutions, traditional rulers, commissioners, special advisers and special assistants, among others. (NAN)