Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

Dr Martin Agwogie, President, International Society of Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Professionals (ISSUP), has advised Nigerians, especially pregnant women, to avoid use of psychoactive substances/drugs, if not prescribed.

Agwogie said this in an interview in Lagos.

He said that pregnant women should stay away from drug abuse or use of psychoactive substances because of their developmental and mental health effects on their unborn children.

According to him, the use of alcohol during pregnancy has different negative effects on the child after birth and on the long-run.

“Drug abuse and use of psychoactive substances during pregnancy can lead to improper development of the child’s brain as well as other mental health conditions later in life.

“If the brain is not properly developed, it can affect the cognitive and emotional thinking, and behavioural development of the child.

“When a pregnant woman is using any of the psychoactive substances, the tendency is that it will affect the physical and mental health of both the mother and the child.

“The feeding habit of the woman will also be affected, especially when the substances are preferred to food; hence, the nutritional requirements needed for proper development of the child may be lacking,” he said.

Agwogie added that there would also be a shortfall in anti-natal care and even adherence to prescriptions, all of which, he said, would invariably affect the unborn child.

“The fact is that psychoactive substances generally have different effects on human body – both man and woman.

“Therefore, everyone, particularly pregnant women, should try to avoid the substances, especially when they are not prescribed,” he said.

Agwogie, however, admitted that some psychoactive substances could be prescribed and used for the treatment of certain health conditions, stressing the need to use them with strict adherence to the prescriptions.

According to him, some psychoactive substance, like opioid drugs or pain-relieving drugs may be prescribed for certain health conditions.

“In such cases, it is advisable to be used strictly under the supervision of medical professionals,” he said.

The expert also advised that women should be careful with the concussions/herbal mixtures they take before or during pregnancy.

“Some of them can lead to more complicated health conditions,” he said.

Agwogie decried the rate at which some women take mixtures of unimaginable substances and concussions, with no better understanding of their compositions or dosage.

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