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Sachet alcoholic drinks spike mental illness, enforce ban, psychiatrists tell Reps

todayMarch 5, 2024 5

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Mental health experts have urged the House of Representatives to maintain the ban on sachet and small bottled alcoholic drinks, stressing that studies show that high intake is linked to mental health problems, particularly among young people.

The psychiatrists stressed that the availability of sachets and small bottled alcoholic drinks has a more negative impact on mental health and said the ban is in the best interest of the Nigerians.

PUNCH Healthwise reported that the House of Representatives mandated its committee on the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control to probe the circumstances surrounding the ban imposed on the production of beverages in sachets and small bottles in Nigeria.

This followed a motion moved on the floor of the green chamber by members Paschal Agbodike and Philip Agbese, during a plenary session.

NAFDAC, in January, banned the production of beverages in small sachets and bottles to curb rising drug abuse in the country, especially among the youth.

Agbbodike, while leading the debate on the motion, noted that Section 4(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), empowers the National Assembly to make laws for the order and good government of the Federation.

According to him, Sections 88(1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), empower the National Assembly to conduct investigations into the activities of any authority executing or administering laws made by the National Assembly including National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control.

Reacting to the investigation by the lawmakers, the mental health experts, variously said that if the House of Representatives suspend the ban, it may lead to potential complications related to substance abuse and addiction.

They stressed that people are more likely to abuse and become dependent on alcohol as a result of the accessibility and low cost of sachet alcoholic drinks, particularly young people and those with low incomes.

A Consultant Drug Addiction Psychiatrist at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Edo State, Dr Kehinde Oderinde, said suspending the ban on sachet alcoholic drinks may increase alcohol-related health issues, social problems, and negative consequences such as impaired judgment, accidents, violence, and alcohol poisoning.

Oderinde noted that the consumption of alcohol, especially in excess, can exacerbate mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders.

He urged the lawmakers to take into account the wider public health effects of lifting the prohibition and to put policies in place to address and lessen any possible hazards connected to easier access to alcohol packaged in sachets.

“There have been studies that have investigated the link between sachet alcoholic drinks and health problems in Nigeria. Research has shown that the consumption of sachet alcoholic drinks, due to their high alcohol content and affordability, is associated with a range of health issues including liver disease, cardiovascular problems, neurological complications, and mental health disorders. These studies have highlighted the negative impact of sachet alcoholic drinks on individual health and public health outcomes in Nigeria.

Written by: EaglesFM

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