Global Initiative on Substance Abuse (GISA) has commenced the training of secondary schools principals in Lagos state, Nigeria on the Universal Prevention Curriculum (UPC) for Substance Use Disorders.
Leading on from the first batch of a 6 days training, which was held between 6th and 11th of May, 2019, the Lagos state government was tasked on the need to appoint a teacher or an administrative staff as a drug control officer in every primary and secondary school in the state.
The National Coordinator for the Universal Prevention Curriculum (UPC) in Nigeria and the Founder of Global Initiative on Substance Abuse (GISA) Dr Martin Agwogie will ensure such officer will be adequately trained on how to develop and implement evidence-based substance abuse prevention interventions in their respective schools. “This will go a long way in addressing the drug problems among the school-age population in Lagos state thereby setting the pace for other states in Nigeria to emulate”.
According to Dr Agwogie, the training is the first and the most comprehensive evidence-based substance abuse prevention training ever organized for secondary schools principals in Nigeria. “You will agree with me that this training would not have come at a better time than now especially with the worrisome trend in substance abuse among youths in Nigeria and Lagos state in particular. Report from the 2018 national drug use survey shows that Lagos state has the highest number of persons who use drugs in Nigeria. This calls for urgent steps among everyone in Lagos state. This is not the time to sit on the fence. We must all rise to address this issue frontally to safeguard the future of the younger generation”.
30 principals from secondary schools in Lagos State, Nigeria attended the training.
According to Dr Agwogie, “Since the first training of trainers in January 2019, this is the 4th batch of training sessions with 30 participants making a total of 116 professionals/ implementers trained on evidence-based substance abuse prevention in Nigeria.
While declaring the training opened, the Permanent Secretary, Education District 1, Lagos State, Dr. (Mrs.) Yinka Ayandele pointed out that this initiative will be taken beyond school principals to the parents and the communities. Her words “We are going to have a drug controlled systems practitioners in schools. We are also taking the advocacy beyond school principals to parents (through the Parent forum in each school where they meet regularly in a term, there are signs to watch out for as parents and to educate them where to seek help, and finally to communities, the aim is to ensure that all hands are on deck towards the control of drug abuse in the state”.