What do you think of when you hear ‘Substance abuse’? Fear? Desire? Lust? Disgust? Blame? Shame? Hate? Nothing? Well, for some – loved ones we cherish, friends we could die for, family that we adore – it’s the beginning of the end.
A woman told a heart rending story of how she lost her younger brother to addiction – ‘codeine diet’! We watched with our hands-on-heads and mouths-ajar as a friend showed us an Instagram video of a person whose journey to substance abuse had turned them into a spectacle!
At every street corner, whether the rich people’s crescents or the not-so-rich backyard, there is a deal going down. Money is changing hands, some powdery substance, tablet, dried leaves or vials of medicine is being exchanged.
Let’s face it – it’s everywhere o, and who’s going to stop it? Well, people are stepping up to the challenge. The MTN Foundation in collaboration with various stakeholders (such as the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Association of Community Pharmacists, Association of Psychiatrists of Nigeria, etc) just launched a project tagged ASAP (Anti-Substance Abuse Programme), on Wednesday, December 19th, 2018 in Lagos. ASAP is a multi-stakeholder intervention aimed at increasing awareness of substance abuse and addiction among youths. The goal of the programme is to discourage first-time usage and casual substance abuse nationwide. Lessons learnt from the press conference were simply mind boggling! You cannot begin to imagine the amount of substances people abuse – tyres, feaces, paint,glue?! The list is endless!
It needs to stop, and it needs to stop now, which is why we are looking forward to everything on this ASAP initiative. There is a lot to learn and many ways to help. The world will know we did.