7:42 PM January 23, 2022

Omicron variant may increase drug abuse, mental disorder – Expert



The Medical Director, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, Dr Olugbenga Owoeye, has said the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, will increase the rate of abuse of drugs, thereby leading to an increase in the number of mental illness in the country.

Owoeye said this at the 2021 end of the year activities and presentation of the year’s annual report by the hospital.

“From the statistics of the hospital, there is an increase in the number of drug abuse cases, we recorded 51 per cent increase this year. Because of the previous waves of COVID-19, there have been several issues that have affected the mental health of the people.

“With the look of things and with the fourth wave, we need to brace up for the year 2022. I won’t deceive you because there might be more cases. Already, there is lockdown in some countries; some people are not able to return to their countries while some businesses are suffering because of their unavailability. When people start thinking, they tend to use drugs to cope and as a result, there will be an increase in mental cases but we are ready to render help to those who need it,” Owoeye said.

He, however, decried the lack of adequate manpower in the hospital, noting that the hospital’s members of staff were over-utilised.

 “We were able to manage with lack of manpower because of the available infrastructure we have in the system. We have 80-bed drugs abuse unit for males and 20-bed drugs abuse unit for females.

“With the available manpower, we were able to manage this effectively but we still need more support, more infrastructure, more manpower to be able to help us in discharging our duties and rendering a perfect service to the nation at large,” Owoeye said.

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