Psychiatrist advises FG to impose heavy tax on importation of cigarettes, alcohol


BY NEWS DESK, AUGUST 10, 2023 | 01:13 PM

Dr Olajumoke Koyejo, a Consultant Addiction Psychiatrist at the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, on Wednesday advised the Federal Government to impose heavy taxes on companies producing or importing cigarettes and alcohol.

Koyejo gave the advice in Ilorin at the ongoing 2023 Annual Scientific Conference and Fellows Congress (ASCAF), of the Postgraduate Medical College Fellows Association.

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

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

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that psychoactive substances are 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 will 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 is at 14 per cent.

She added that the prevalence is 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 are 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 have responsibility of taking care of their well-being.

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

According to him, physicians need to care for their health for the sake of patients and this can be done through reduction in our workloads.

The psychiatrist warned that “a sick doctor is 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.


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