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27.05.2006 Health

Drug addiction accounts for 80 per cent of mental cases among the youth-Dr Osei

By GNA

Accra, May 26, GNA - Dr Akwasi Osei, Medical Director of Accra Psychiatric Hospital on Friday said addiction of hard drugs accounted for 80 per cent of reported mental cases among the youth. He said the situation was due to high peer pressure, curiosity and ignorance among the youth on the effects of hard drugs on mental health.

Dr Osei announced this when addressing students of second cycle institutions at a youth forum organised by the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) and Attitudes Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organisation under the theme: "The Effects Of Hard Drugs And Alcohol On Students" in Accra. He said alcohol classified as food was more of a drug, because any substance that had the potential to harm or change the normal attitude of any person was a drug.

Dr Osei noted that alcohol; the most popular abused drug had various medical implications such as diabetes, epilepsy, cancer of the lung, pancreas and could lead to unnecessary suspicions and jealousy by addicts. He asked the students to resist friends who suddenly adopted attitudes such as wearing dark shades, over sleeping, having strange leaves and wrappers in their rooms, and moving with suspicious people, since these were signs of drug addicts. Dr Osei advised the youth to abstain from hard drugs and learn lessons from other drug addicts to live healthier lives and contribute to national development.

"You should not allow yourselves to be misinformed by your peers, but be assertive and seek parental advice and counsel anytime you are confronted with a problem, instead of resorting to drugs," he added. Mr Charles Habiah, Greater Accra Regional Vice Chairman of YMCA, said the association had instituted measures to create opportunities that would enable the youth develop their talents to become responsible citizens. He urged the students to abstain from hard drugs to ensure a generation of drugs free youth and society. Mr Daniel O' Laughlin, an official of Attitudes-Ghana, advised the students not to be influenced by deceptive alcohol advertisements. He was optimistic that the NGO could in collaboration with civil society educate the youth on the effects of alcohol.

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