Dr Godwin Ntadom, the Chief Consultant Epidemiologist of the Federation, on Wednesday identified peer group pressure as a leading cause of drug abuse.
Ntadom, who made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, therefore, urged parents and guardians to do all they could to protect their children from being exposed to hard drugs.
NAN reports that the theme for this year’s Day is, `Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World’.
He said that the abuse of drugs could lead to severe mental health disorder.
“It’s actually a global problem and not limited to Nigeria.
“Young people, due to peer pressure, or just trying to look like a particular artist, begin to follow their footsteps to emulate them.
“A young man coming out of school can stay for two years and there’s no job and he wants to make himself happy.
“After that period when the effect of the drugs must have waned, you want to still continue to have that experience.
“That’s what leads to addiction.
“Those, who are exposed to such drugs can seek counsel and engage themselves in other positive things that can help them get off that mood disorder,’’ he said.
The epidemiologist, who identified depression as one of the sources of mental disorder, pointed out that the condition could be inherited.
According to him, the condition is the most common illness globally.
He added that it could lead to suicide.
“One thing all parents must do is to get very close to their children.
“Peer group pressure could be either positive or negative,’’ he said.
He urged parents to cultivate the habit of talking with their children.
He also urged school authorities to ensure that students did not take drugs onto the school premises.
The epidemiologist urged the Federal Government to sustain the regulation of the importation of some the hard drugs used by addicts.
The plight of adolescents struggling with mental health problems has come under the spotlight for World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10.
NAN reports that the World Mental Health Day is celebrated on Oct. 10 to raise awareness on mental health illness, educate the people and mobilise efforts at promoting mental health.