MTN Foundation has called for collaborative effort to tackle substance abuse, a major public health, social and individual problem in Nigeria.
A 2019 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shows that 35 million people suffer from drug disorders globally and opioids such as codeine, morphine and many others are responsible for the death of two-thirds of the 585,000 people who died from substance abuse
In Nigeria today, drug abuse has become a worrisome trend amongst the Nigerian youth, disclosed the chief superintendent of narcotics, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Atinuke Aduloju, even as she revealed that over 40 per cent of Nigerian youth within ages, 18 to 35 abuse drugs.
To curb this menace among youths in the society, MTN Foundation said, it launched the Anti Substance Abuse Programme (ASAP) initiative in 2019, as a multi-sectoral platform to increase awareness of the negative impact of substance abuse and addiction amongst young Nigerians.
This year, the foundation disclosed that it is partnering with the UNODC, the Ministry of Education and the NDLEA, adding that the campaign will include a variety of activities including the Unplugged =Training, Volunteer Training, Quiz Competition, an Advocacy Walk and a National Conference.
“The Unplugged Training is an evidence-based program in partnership with UNODC and the Ministry of Education to educate and enlighten secondary school teachers in 30 Nigerian schools about substance abuse and the application of knowledge gained to positively impact the students.
“The volunteer training on the other hand is aimed at educating select individuals on how to counsel victims of substance abuse and help them overcome addiction. As much as the ASAP initiative is to discourage first-time drug abuse, there is also an urgent need to help those already dealing with substance abuse.
“The advocacy walk is designed to raise awareness of the dangers of substance abuse on young Nigerians and its effects on society. The advocacy walk would also be an opportunity to inform the general public of the national conference and other activities taking place as a result of the ASAP initiative,” it explained.
The foundation said, the national conference which will hold on 26 June 2022 is to officially commemorate World Drug Day and have important conversations about the role and responsibilities of people and organisations in the fight against substance abuse.