Surge in adolescent substance abuse cases

January 29, 2024 6:54 am

St. Giles Hospital is experiencing a surge in adolescent substance abuse cases, prompting the Health Ministry to emphasize the urgent need for care and advocacy.

On average, there are over 20 substance abuse-related admissions per month, with the most recent admission involving a 14-year-old patient.

St. Giles Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr. Balram Pandit discusses the rising trend of substance abuse cases and associated conditions with patients.

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“We record on an average around 20 to 30 patients monthly. However, if you include the substance use as comorbidity, that means when it is present with other illnesses, say for example, schizophrenia, mood disorder and whole lot of other varieties of diagnosis, then the number goes up to. It would range between 30 and 40.”

He also highlights the need for timely and effective care for young patients.

Health Minister Dr. Atonio Lalabalavu emphasizes the importance of capacity building and increased awareness to address this concerning rise in adolescent substance abuse.

“It’s a form of decentralizing the services right down to the division level. That is one way we are approaching it. And together with that, there’s continuous awareness on the respective divisions that they are tasked.”

Urgent calls are being made for comprehensive care and heightened public awareness to address this growing public health concern.