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Private rehabilitation centre for drug addicts opens in Nigeria

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In northern Nigeria, a private rehabilitation centre for drug addicts is the first of its kind to open.

The region has experienced a rise in drug-related mental health illnesses.

Previously, authorities closed informal rehabilitation centres accused of abusing children.

"The government closed the traditional rehabilitation centres that have been operating before, so that was when the idea of bringing this new, innovative, centre as the first of its kind in this part of the country. We have six inpatients here and there are other rooms for outpatients which are still coming and more enquiries are on the way", said Abubakar Muhammad Inuwa, manager of the Amana Sanatorium.

In conservative mostly Muslim northern Nigeria, drug use and other activities are frowned up in a region where Islamic Sharia law is applied alongside the country's federal laws.

The most common drugs are marijuana, codeine, painkillers and glue sniffing.

"This centre alone cannot cater for the victims of these drugs. So, there is need for other centres, it is collective responsibility for the society to eradicate this habit of drug addiction so that sanity prevails in our society. So, there is need for more, especially in northern Nigeria", added the centre manager.

Poorer Nigerians often resort to traditional and faith-based healers to deal with mental health issues.

Nigeria has only 250 trained psychiatrists for its 200 million population, according to the Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN).

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