To curb this menace among youths in society, different programmes, campaigns and initiatives have been established to raise awareness against substance abuse amongst the Nigerian youths. One such initiative is the Anti-Substance Abuse Programme (ASAP) by the MTN Foundation.
The ASAP campaign is a strategic endeavour by the MTN Foundation to impact and make a significant change in the lives of many young Nigerians. In partnership with public and private organizations, all the activities lined up for the 2022 ASAP campaign will enlighten more people and help every Nigerian understand they have a part to play in the fight against substance abuse and addiction.
MTN Foundation launched the ASAP initiative in 2019 as a multi-sectoral platform to increase awareness of the negative impact of substance abuse and addiction amongst young Nigerians. The goal of this scheme is to discourage first-time and causal use of addictive drugs amongst the youth.
Since its inception, influential Nigerians such as singer, Joseph Akinfenwa popularly known as Joeboy, Neuro-psychiatrist and mental health advocate, Maymunah Kadiri and the Lagos State Commissioner, Ministry of Health Jide Idris have lent their voice and shown commitment to working with stakeholders to drive this good cause.
This year, in partnership with the UNODC, the Ministry of Education and the NDLEA, the MTN Foundation is commencing another campaign to drive this purposeful cause. The campaign will include a variety of activities including the Unplugged Training, Volunteer Training, 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 about substance abuse and the application of knowledge gained to positively impact the students.
“The volunteer training on the other hand is aimed at educating select individuals on how to counsel victims of substance abuse and help them overcome addiction. As much as the ASAP initiative is to discourage first-time drug abuse, there is also an urgent need to help those already dealing with substance abuse,” Adia Sowho, chief marketing officer, MTN Nigeria stated.
The advocacy walk is designed to raise awareness of the dangers of substance abuse on young Nigerians and its effects on society. The advocacy walk would also be an opportunity to inform the general public of the national conference and other activities taking place as a result of the ASAP initiative.
To enlighten young Nigerians about substance abuse and its consequences, the MTN Foundation in coalition with NDLEA is organizing a quiz competition on substance abuse for youth in secondary schools. The winners of the quiz competition will be announced on the 26th of June 2022 during the national conference.
The national conference which will hold on 26 June 2022 is to officially commemorate World Drug Day and have important conversations about the role and responsibilities of people and organisations in the fight against substance abuse.