A drug addict

A Psychiatrist with National Hospital, Abuja, Dr Segun Shoyombo, has advised Nigerians against stigmatising drug addicts and people with mental health problems.

Shoyombo gave the advice in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday as the world marked the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

According to the psychiatrist, stigma refers to the negative way in which the society views people with addiction and mental health problems.

He cautioned against the use of harsh words on drug addicts and people with mental health challenge, saying “whenever we want to talk about racism, sexism, homophobia or ageism, we should not use derogatory words.

He said victims needed all the help they could get to do away with the habit of drug abuse, stressing that stigmatising them would further push them away from people and make them lonely.

He advised that “whatever treatment approach they choose, having positive influences and solid support system is essential.

“The more people they can turn to for encouragement, guidance and listening ear, the better their chances of recovery.

“They need close friends and family to lean on. Having the support of friends and family members is an invaluable asset in their recovery.

“If they are reluctant to turn to their loved ones because they let them down before, they will go back to the substance again.”

The psychiatrist said it was time to explore treatment choices by substance users once they showed commitment toward recovery.