The International Society of Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Professionals (ISSUP) Nigeria has called for more synergy in the nation’s drug control efforts.
This call was made by the President of ISSUP Nigeria, Dr. Martin Agwogie at the maiden session of ISSUP Nigeria bi-monthly webinar which held recently.
According to Dr. Agwogie: “There is the need for more synergy, devoid of institutional and professional discrimination, among stakeholders in drug demand reduction for Nigeria to make headway in its drug control efforts.”
This he said became necessary considering the threat posed by the increase in drugs and substance abuse in Nigeria.
Panellists at the webinar were the UNODC Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Oliver Stolpe, the Director, Drug Demand Reduction, NDLEA, Mrs. Joyce O. Titus-Awogbuyi, the Director/Head of Drug Demand Reduction and Harm Reduction, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Jimoh O. Salaudeen and the National Coordinator, Community Intervention Network on Drugs, Dr. William Ebiti.
In his remarks, Dr. Stolpe noted that a recent survey showed that drug use has increased among young persons since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and there was an urgent need to build upon the DrugHelpNet, an initiative of the UNODC, so as to have a nationwide Drug Help Line!
In view of this, stakeholders emphasised the need to be more proactive in addressing the issues of drugs and substance abuse especially with the pandemic which has become a risk factor for substance abuse.
The challenges with access to drug treatment during COVID-19 and the need to develop alternative drug demand reduction operational strategies in the intra, and post-COVID era were enunciated.
The panel agreed that there is the need to strengthen advocacy for appropriate government interventions in drug control, with a request for maximum support to agencies and institutions involved in drug control in Nigeria, including NGOs/CSOs.