One Sip, One Drag, Is All It Takes

One Sip, One Drag, Is All It Takes

Substance abuse.

“Ade, take one na, why you dey do like baby? U no jasi at all o. Come on, take a drag, ‘Arizona’ is straight from Baba God o!”

 

No, it is not from a novel, or a film excerpt. These are jeers (Sometimes in languages other than Pidgin) slammed at millions of youths all over the world by their peers to shame their modest ways, or simply used as a rite of passage to include them in their clique.

 

With every drag of that finely rolled marijuana; or a sip of an expertly concocted drug cocktail of any combination of different prescribed drugs, these “simple” steps may be the doorway to a lifetime of addiction.

 

According to the BBC documentary on codeine abuse amongst Nigerian youths, which aired in May of 2018 on YouTube, “Thousands of young Nigerians are addicted to codeine cough syrup – a medicine that’s become a street drug. The government estimates that up to 3 million bottles of the addictive syrup are drunk every day in just two northern states. Taken in excess, codeine can cause psychosis (a severe mental disorder in which thought, and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality) and organ failure.”

 

With substance abuse becoming a subject of concern among millennials and younger generations, a call to action that addresses and curbs some of the far-reaching socioeconomic and psychological impact of substance abuse is imperative, and this is where MTN’s Anti Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) steps in. It is a multi-sectoral initiative of MTN Foundation that focuses on educating the youth and creating awareness on substance abuse.

 

Kicking off the ASAP campaign, the Foundation launched a two-week activity extravaganza at the Ayobo Park, Old Ipaja Road, Agege. To effectively capture the attention of locals and passersby, the team employed the use of music, dance and other pop culture themes. As expected, there was a huge turnout.

 

Scheduled to run for two weeks, the campaign will visit schools, markets, and hold town hall meetings, amongst various other activities geared toward promoting the culture of a drug-free nation.

 

The trek is modelled to cover the six geopolitical zones, in states such as Bauchi, Imo, Abuja, Rivers, and Kano. Lagos is the first port of call. The trek will ultimately culminate in a grand multi-stakeholder conference on substance abuse at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) planned for June 26, 2019.

 

We all have a lot to do, a lot to learn and a lot to share.

Drug abuse needs to stop. Now.