Mental Health Expert and Managing Director of Global Foremost Impressions Ltd, Mr. Rotimi Aroge, has said Persons with Disabilities are 40% more likely to engage in substance and drug abuse than Persons without disabilities because of the spate of depression, discrimination, and stigmatization that they are exposed to.
Aroge shared this while speaking on Mental Health and well-being at a training organized by Lionheart Ability Leaders International Foundation (LALIF), a disability-focused NGO working on Deaf-Blindness in Nigeria.
Aroge while facilitating the training session explained that Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is an illness that PWDs should not venture into because there are no recovery facilities for PWDs in Nigeria at the moment.
“There are indeed recovery facilities/ rehabilitation centers, as well as recovery professionals, but there are no recovery facilities for PWDs. Therefore, recovery for PWDs will have to be carried out using a conventional facility. This can become very challenging for both PWDs and recovery professionals because they cannot handle the additional care and support PWDs need outside the treatment or therapy,” Aroge explained.
He advised PWDs not to be involved in SUD, stressing that “for addiction and substance issues, prevention is the key because SUD treatment and recovery is for life, it’s a continuum.”
Also speaking about how PWDs can be exploited to become drug traffickers, Aroge shared that drug traffickers take advantage of the vulnerability of PWDs and involve them in trafficking.
He discouraged PWDs especially persons with Deaf-blindness from venturing into trafficking as it could be dangerous to them.
The expert encouraged LALIF to provide rehabilitation and recovery facilities to support PWDs who require help.
While giving his closing remark, Mr. Solomon Okelola, the Executive Director of LALIF assured that LALIF will step up advocacy and create awareness among persons with deaf-blindness on the effect of drug usage and the need to abstain from it in society.
He also noted that LALIF will be creating a platform to bring all persons with deafblindness together, to provide the necessary support for them.