|MTN Foundation in partnership with United Nations Office on Drug and Crimes (UNODC) and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) organised an anti-substance abuse training tagged ‘Unplugged’ for 90 secondary school teachers across three major states in Nigeria: Oyo, Kano and Rivers state. The training is designed to provide teachers with instruments to work on social influences, life skills and substance prevention among their students. According to a 2021 report by the UNODC, around 275 million people used drugs worldwide between 2020-2021, while over 36 million people suffered from drug use disorders. The report also stated that in the last 24 years, cannabis potency had increased by as much as four times in different parts of the world. In the same period, t the percentage of adolescents who perceived the drug as harmful fell by as much as 40 per cent.|
Unplugged is a school-based drug prevention programme for adolescents on the comprehensive social influence approach. The training integrates evidence-based effective components, to decrease substance use initiation among adolescents. The programme also contains a parent component, which aims to provide parents with educational tools that support the schools’ prevention methods.
Speaking on the Unplugged initiative, the master trainer, Ruth Owotumi, said that the anti-substance prevention programme is based on comprehensive social influence, and it majorly targets young ones as they approach their adolescent years.
“Unplugged is a universal substance prevention programme, and it comprises 12 lessons to prevent the use of tobacco, marijuana, alcohol and other substances among adolescents. It is evidence-based as it has been implemented and evaluated across 7 different European countries.” She said.
‘Unplugged’ is part of the activities mapped out for the 2022 Anti-Substance Abuse Program (ASAP). ASAP is an initiative spearheaded by the MTN Foundation, to deliver interventions that contribute to a significant reduction in the rate of drug abuse amongst youth. The MTN Foundation has over the years partnered with both public and private organisations to initiate sustainable development programmes in different focus areas to make life brighter for Nigerians.