MTN, NDLEA, UNODC wage war against drug abuse in Nigeria

(Last Updated On: June 26, 2023)…Say 14.3m Nigerians use psychoactive substances
From Uche Usim, Abuja

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In a concerted effort to address the growing national scourge of drug abuse and addiction, MTN Foundation has partnered the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to tackle the blooming crime currently ruining many lives, especially the youths.
 This comes as a national drug use survey revealed that 14.3 million Nigerians aged 15-64 years had used a psychoactive substance just as one in every four users of hard drugs in Nigeria is a woman.The partnership was cemented at the weekend, against the backdrop of the commemoration of this year’s World Drug Day.
As part of the anti-drug advocacy programme, MTN Foundation organised a quiz competition for secondary school students at the weekend, to raise awareness on dangers of illicit drug consumption among the younger generation.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Secretary of MTN Foundation, Mrs Odunayo Sanya, said MTN Nigeria launched the Anti-Substance Abuse Programme ‘ASAP’ project to help end the drug abuse scourge.
She added that the quiz competition among secondary schools in Nigeria began last year with 12 schools from five states and the FCT representing each geo-political zone) participating.
“The quiz competition is in collaboration with the NDLEA National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
For this year’s quiz competition, six states participated – Katsina, Oyo, Enugu, Benue, Edo and Adamawa.
“The objectives are; to create awareness of substance abuse among secondary students; to assess the level of awareness and knowledge of substance abuse and substance abuse issues among secondary school students; to recruit participants in the quiz competition as advocates for ASAP in their respective schools.
The quiz was won by PTA NADP International College, Lafia.
Also speaking, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Buba Marwa, represented by Shedrack Haruna, the Secretary/DG of the Agency said drug use among young people in Nigeria has attained frightening dimensions.
“Young persons of school age have been found to use all kinds of psychoactive substances including unconventional concoctions and inhalants, etc,” he said.
He spoke further: “One in five persons, who use drugs in Nigeria is suffering from drug use disorder. Drug use among young persons of school age has become worrisome which necessitated the quiz competition among secondary school students.
“The effects of drugs are very devastating and ranging from the physical (destroy major organs of the body, such as the respiratory organ, kidney, liver, reproductive system, brain damage, causing memory loss); psychological effects like depression, anxiety, loss of concentration are worrisome.
“Social effects include increase in crime rate, destruction of relationships especially family, truancy, cultism in schools, affects academic performance due to loss of motivation and concentration, impacts future career, invariably kills one’s dream.
“Young people use drugs mainly because they want to be like their peers (peer pressure), they copy quickly and are highly impressionable.”
In his remarks, Country Representative, UNODC, Dr Oliver Stolpe, said drug abuse should be listed as an epidemic of sorts.
“The 2018 Nigeria Drug Use Survey put Nigeria’s drug use prevalence at over 3 times the global average, with users being predominantly young people between the ages of 16 and 34. As at the 2018 Survey, there were over 14.8 million Nigerians who had used drugs with 3 million of them living with a drug use disorder.
“There are projections that the drug use prevalence in Africa will increase by 40 per cent by 2030 and for a country like Nigeria with a teeming youth population, this is alarming and should be a wakeup call to everyone, not just NDLEA, or other stakeholders currently working in this field.
“All hands must be on deck to reverse this negative trend. Our youth are our future and the current indices do not bode well for the future of the country,” he said. The post MTN, NDLEA, UNODC wage war against drug abuse in Nigeria appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.


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