A Clinical Psychologist at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Adedotun Ajiboye, has urged parents to help prevent drug abuse in young people by talking to children about the consequences of the act and the importance of making healthy choices.
The Psychologist gave the advice in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to him, drug abuse is a social menace in society, adding that it is ruining many lives, especially the health of the users, families, communities, labour organisations and nations across the world.
“Talk honestly with your child about healthy choices and risky behaviours. It is very important,’’ Ajiboye said.
He said that most of the social vices in society such as kidnapping, cultism, armed robbery, rape, cyber-crime, and domestic and societal violence, were all connected to drug abuse.
“People abuse both illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroine among others, such as tramadol, cigarette, alcohol, and pentasocine psychoactive substances.
He said many factors were responsible for drug abuse in society, noting that they include poor parenting, exposure to technology, and the environment.
According to him, for poor parenting, parents using any psychoactive substances can easily influence their children to use as well.
He said a theory in psychology-social learning confirmed this, noting that when a child observed the parents using psychoactive substances, he or she could emulate them.
According to him, some environments can be seen as rearing grounds for drug addicts, adding that in such places, psychoactive substances are readily available, making people to have access and use the substances.
Ajiboye said that for technology, social media had also been recognised as a platform where people learn how to use psychoactive substances because many posts or advertisements on the internet promoted drug abuse.
He explained that the best way that parents could assist their children to stay safe online, was to ensure that they were familiar with technology themselves.
“One of the biggest fears for parents is that their child could either meet inappropriate people or engage in inappropriate activity online,’’ Ajiboye said.
According to him, many parents choose to monitor their children’s online activities and whether or not to let the child know.
On the impact of negative family environment had on the development of a child, he identified poor language development by age three and later behaviour problems, as some of the challenges.
Others, he said, were aggression, anxiety or depression, deficits in school readiness and impaired cognitive development from age three to 24.
He noted that such unsuitable home environments were not healthy for the development of children.
Ajiboye advised that taking a week’s break from social media platforms might improve the well-being of children and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.