The Lagos State Government on Monday called for licencing of all harmful chemicals in order to make accessibility to them more difficult.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Titilayo Goncalves, made the call at a news conference in Lagos.
Goncalves spoke following the recent ban on sale of sniper, a pesticide, in open market by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
NAFDAC had on July 11 placed ban on sale of the pesticide and other agricultural formulations of dichlovorous following increased cases of suicide and misuse of the product.
She said that mental health had not been given enough prominence as it should be.
“Many students who have graduated have no jobs and instead of thinking that this is just a bump in the road of their journey in life, they decide to end it all.
“We then see the suicide rates increasing; we see them consuming sniper.
“All these harmful chemicals need to be licensed so that it can actually be more difficult to get access to it,” she said.
Goncalves also said that the use of codeine, a cough syrup, had been on the increase among youths in the country.
According to her, because the syrup gives a transient feeling of high, the patient who takes it feels pleasure which is actually short-lived.
“The Federal Government has found out that lots of youths are taking this drug to stimulate the high feeling, and after a while, they become dependent and cannot do without it.
“So, it has become impertinent for us to advise the public about the dangers, “ she said.
Goncalves urged the public including individuals, family members and the community at large to be vigilant.
“Responsible and concerned adults in the community need to educate the general public on the dangers of consuming these substances.
“Create recreational opportunities for the children, engage them in activities like sports, and vocational activities to keep them occupied, “ the permanent secretary said.
She also said that the state government has a task force which monitored fake and counterfeit drugs to check what people were consuming.
“We also collaborate with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and some various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that advocate against drug abuse.
Edited by Olagoke Olatoye