Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has identified poverty as the commonest factor that has encouraged drug abuse among young persons in the country.
He stated that the social and economic status of most Nigerians was below average, pointing out that the situation had been aggravated by lack of skills and employment opportunities, adding that in the bid to fight these and other frustrations, young people and even older ones resort to drugs for succour.
The governor, who spoke in Enugu yesterday on the theme, “Poverty and Drug abuse: Their Nexus in Mental Illness,” at the fifth public lecture of West African College of Nursing, said poverty had contributed significantly to high school dropouts and child labour.
Ikpeazu, who identified peer pressure, lack of parental control and adverse parental influence, curiosity and heredity, among others, as responsible for drug abuse, stressed the need to check the rising rates in the interest of the society.
He stated that attempts to prevent or treat substance abuse and the mental illnesses they cause must include measures taken to alleviate poverty at the individual, family and community levels.