The Lagos state government says it has updated its mental health policy to address the prevalence of drug abuse.
This comes after a BBC investigative report on Codeine abuse among youths and the eventual mental illness in some victims.
The federal fovernment had on Tuesday directed the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to stop further issuance of permits for the importation of Codeine as active pharmaceutical ingredient for cough preparations in response to Codeine abuse in the country.
Jide Idris, Lagos commissioner for health, said the state government had been engaging with key stakeholders before the ban was announced.
“The ban principally is a NAFDAC initiative but as a state government we did not wait; we are more proactive and ever since this issue came into light, the ministry has been engaging and very soon, we will come out with a more comprehensive programme,” he said at the annual ministerial press briefing which held at Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, Ikeja.
“This is because we would not look at Codeine alone; we are going to look at it under drug abuse. Codeine is just one substance out of many that are being abused. That is why like we said something ago that we are putting more emphasis now on mental health.
“In line with this, we have updated our own mental health law as against what is happening at the federal level; we have a mental health policy and we are currently now implementing our mental health programme to cover all tiers – primary, secondary and tertiary health care systems. This is a comprehensive thing and there is no doubt about the fact that there is a major mental health problem in our country and this Codeine is just a tip of the iceberg.”
The commissioner said the state is working with Global Partnership Programme, Canada to establish a Bio-Containment and Bio-Safety Laboratory at the Lagos Mainland Hospital, Yaba as a follow-up to the successful containment of Ebola outbreak.
This, he said, would facilitate prompt diagnosis of diseases of public health importance, while the health insurance scheme of the state government would commence in 2018.