The Nigerian Society of Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Professionals (ISSUP Nigeria Chapter) held the first of her bi-monthly update webinar series titled: 'Experience and challenges in delivering drug demand reduction interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic, capacity building on evidence based substance abuse prevention and treatment interventions, and the way forward' on July, 30th 2020 at 3pm. The webinar had 188 participants from across the globe.
The webinar was moderated by the President of ISSUP Nigeria; Dr. Martin Agwogie and the PRO, ISSUP Nigeria; Dr. Bawo James. Panelists were Dr. Oliver Stolpe (UNODC Nigeria Country Representative), Mrs. J. O. Titus-Awogbuyi (Director, Drug Demand reduction, NDLEA), Dr. J. O. Salaudeen (Director, DDR, FMOH), and Dr. William Ebiti (National Coordinator, CIND).
The webinar commenced with opening remarks by the Executive Director of ISSUP, Joanna Travis-Roberts, following which Dr. Agwogie introduced the panelists. Dr. James thereafter moderated the sessions with issues ranging from capacity building and engagement for substance use professionals utilizing IT resources in delivering prevention and treatment services in the intra-, and post-COVID era enunciated.
The following are major highlights from the webinar.
- There is the need to be more proactive in addressing the issues of drugs and substance abuse especially with the present COVID-19 pandemic which has become a risk factor for substance use.
- The challenges with access to drug treatment during COVID-19 and the need to develop alternative drug demand reduction operational strategies during the pandemic was emphasized.
- The DrugHelpNet and other initiatives/supports of the UNODC was applauded and should be sustained.
- The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Federal Ministry of Health, ISSUP Nigeria and the CSOs were also commended for their initiatives in drug control in Nigeria.
- There is the need to strengthen advocacy for appropriate government interventions in drug control.
- Institutions involved in drug control in Nigeria, including NGOs/CSOs should be given maximum support by the executive and legislative arms of government.
- There is the need for more synergy among stakeholders in drug demand reduction. Synergy devoid of institutional and professional discrimination.
- Capacity building of practitioners was identified as the foundation in delivering evidence-based interventions. As such, sustainable strategies should be put in place to develop the capacity of drug demand reduction practitioners in Nigeria.
- The need for similar and regular sessions, involving the major stakeholders, was advocated.
The next ISSUP Nigeria Bi-Monthly Webinars are scheduled for
- September 24th 2020
- November 26th 2020
Please be on the look out for details and updates on the ISSUP Nigeria news page.
First published in Solace Vol. 3 (2020), the official newsletter of ISSUP Nigeria.