MTN Foundation Collaborative Fight Against Addiction

While calling for a collaborative fight against addiction, the MTN Foundation recently unveiled the activities of its 2022 addiction program, Chiamaka Ozulumba reports

It is no news that drug addiction is a major public, social and individual health problem and is seen as an aggravating factor in economic crises. A 2019 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shows that 35 million people suffer from drug-related disorders worldwide and that opioids such as codeine, morphine and many other Others are responsible for the deaths of two-thirds of the 585,000 people who died. drug addiction.

In Nigeria today, drug addiction has become a worrying trend among Nigerian youth. According to Atinuke Aduloju, Chief Superintendent of Narcotics, National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), she said that more than 40% of young Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 35 abuse drugs. This is not only a threat to public health in Nigeria, but to the future of young Nigerians, as the number of young drug addicts continues to rise rapidly.

The effects of drug addiction are limitless and can affect the quality of life of those who are victims. Young people make up a large percentage of the labor market in Nigeria, and drug addiction affects productivity in the workplace, which hurts the country’s economy. Students involved in substance abuse are not left out as academic performance, relationships with other students, and society as a whole are negatively affected.

In 2018, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) released a documentary on drug addiction in Nigeria and the development of addiction. In response, the Nigerian government banned the importation and production of cough syrup containing codeine to reduce the availability of codeine, especially in pharmacies. Policies and taxes such as the sin tax were developed to increase the cost of tobacco and alcohol to reduce purchases and consumption.

To combat this threat among the youth in the society, different programs, campaigns and initiatives have been put in place to raise awareness among young Nigerians about drug addiction. One such initiative is the MTN Foundation’s Substance Abuse Program (ASAP).

The MTN Foundation launched the ASAP initiative in 2019 as a multi-sectoral platform to raise awareness of the negative impact of substance abuse and substance abuse among young Nigerians. The objective of this program is to discourage the first use and causal consumption of addictive drugs among young people. Since its inception, influential Nigerians such as singer Joseph Akinfenwa, popularly known as Joeboy, neuropsychiatrist and mental health advocate, Maymunah Kadiri and Lagos State Commissioner, Ministry of Health, Dr. Jide Idris, lent their voices and showed their commitment to working with stakeholders. to lead this good cause.

This year, in partnership with UNODC, the Ministry of Education and the NDLEA, the MTN Foundation is launching another campaign to promote this cause. The campaign will include a variety of activities, including Unplugged= training, volunteer training, a 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 on substance abuse and applying the knowledge learned to make an impact positive on students. Volunteer training, on the other hand, aims to educate selected people on how to counsel victims of drug addiction and help them overcome their addiction. As much as the ASAP initiative aims to discourage first-time drug abuse, there is an urgent need to help those who are already struggling with addiction.

The advocacy walk is designed to raise awareness of the dangers of drug abuse among young Nigerians and its effect on society. The advocacy walk would also be an opportunity to inform the general public about the national conference and other activities taking place as a result of the ASAP initiative.

To enlighten young Nigerians about drug addiction and its consequences, the MTN Foundation, in collaboration with the NDLEA, is organizing a drug addiction quiz competition for secondary school youth. The winners of the quiz contest will be announced on the 26the of June 2022 during the national conference.

The national conference to be held on June 26, 2022 is set to officially commemorate World Drug Day and have important conversations about the roles and responsibilities of people and organizations in the fight against drug addiction.

The ASAP campaign is a strategic endeavor of the MTN Foundation to impact and bring about meaningful change in the lives of many young Nigerians. In partnership with public and private organizations, all activities planned for the ASAP 2022 campaign will enlighten more people and help every Nigerian to understand that they have a role to play in the fight against substance abuse and addiction.

Quotation“The Substance Abuse Program The campaign is a strategic endeavor of the MTN Foundation to impact and bring about meaningful change in the lives of many young Nigerians”

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