Lagos, December 19, 2019: Commissioned by the World Health Organisation, the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) project, led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) estimates that globally over 160 million people had an alcohol or drug use disorder in 2016.
While data on the
prevalence of substance abuse and the number of people with drug disorders in
Nigeria is limited, available facts suggest that accessibility to and abuse of illicit drugs are on the rise. According to a
from the United Nations Office on Drug
and Crime (UNODC), Nigeria is a known
trafficking hub for controlled substances, with many
young Nigerians in metropolitan areas getting entangled in drug-related
In a strategic effort
to address a growing national problem, MTN Nigeria through the MTN Foundation, in collaboration with a consortium of
stakeholders has launched an initiative called ‘ASAP’ (Anti Substance Abuse Programme).
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.
The initiative kicked
off with a press conference in Lagos on Wednesday, December 19 attended by dignitaries
from various government and non-government organisations, including health
practitioners, MTN officials and brand ambassadors.
“ This situation
is urgent and important. Substance abuse is a well known and growing
menace in our country. Our youth, the
future of this nation, are at risk” said Prince
Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, Chairman, MTN Foundation speaking at the launch.
“This why we must do as much as we can; as fast as we can, to chart the right course and help those coming behind us understand the dangers. We owe it to ourselves and our children,” he added.
The initiative, which will run for six
months, targets young Nigerians from age 10 – 25. Part of the integrated
communications campaign effort is a dedicated microsite with an online
representative trained to answer enquiries from the public on substance abuse,
addiction, rehabilitation, in addition to direct engagement activities targeted
at schools, campuses, markets, motor parks and communities across Nigeria.
MTN Foundation has over the years partnered with both public and private
organisations to initiate sustainable development
programmes in different focus areas with the aim of making life brighter for