Press: Nigerian Universities Commence Post-graduate Courses in Substance, Addiction Studies

From This Day Live, Thursday 27 October 2022

Emameh Gabriel in Abuja

The International Society of Substances Use Professionals (ISSUP) (Nigeria) has disclosed that two universities in Nigeria have been approved to offer post graduate courses in substance use prevention, treatment and policy standard as an international course.

The universities are Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State (UNIZIK) and the Niger Delta University (NDU).

This was just as it was revealed that secondary schools teachers in some parts of the country have also underwent training in related discipline to mitigate the level of drug abuse among their students.

The disclosure was made yesterday in Abuja by its Country Chapter President, Dr. Martin O. Agwogie, at its 4th National Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) with the theme: “Building a Multidisciplinary Drug Demand Reduction Network in Nigeria,” in collaboration with both its international and local partners, including the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, the Ministry of Health and other relevant stakeholders in the fight against drug abuse and trafficking.

In his welcome address, Agwogie said that since the formal inauguration of the association on October 17, 2019, ISSUP Nigeria has remained committed to the promotion of evidence-based substance use prevention, treatment, recovery and contributing to drug policy development in Nigeria.

He said that this year’s theme was in line with the vision of the organisation “to build a united, trained, skilled, knowledge and effective multidisciplinary national network of substance use prevention, treatment, recovery professionals and researchers to undertake and promote high quality evidence-based interventions and policies.”

He said: “Within the past 12 months, ISSUP Nigeria Chapter consolidated on achievements of the previous years. One of which was the introduction of addiction studies in our universities.

“In my welcome address at the formal inauguration of the association in 2019, I stated that ‘we are in collaboration with relevant stakeholders towards the introduction of substance use prevention, treatment and policy as a standard international course of study in higher institutions of learning in Nigeria.

“Just within three years of this declaration, I am pleased to announce that two universities in Nigeria have approved post graduate courses in addiction studies and one of which is the Niger Delta University in Bayelsa State.”

He explained that while efforts were being put in place to see that other universities key into the idea, UNIZIK has also approved post graduate studies in drug abuse and addiction control.

According to Agwogie, with the help of Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State, the state has become one of the three states in Nigeria that has adapted the UNPLUGGED school-based training manual for substance use prevention with the training of 124 secondary school teachers, one of the highest numbers in any state in Nigeria. Similarly, secondary school counselors have been trained using the TREATNET module.

“These, among other signs, demonstrate exceptional commitments to effect the drug control in not only Bayelsa State but in Nigeria thereby promoting the health and well-being of the citizens, particularly the young ones,” Agwogie said, and called on other state governors and other stakeholders to emulate the governor of Bayelsa State.

He concluded by remarking that due to the nexus between drugs and crime, ISSUP Nigeria Chapter commended the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brigadier General Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd), for achievements recorded in the fight against drug trafficking and other related offences.

The Guest Speaker, Professor Bola Ola, a former Acting Dean of the Faculty of Clinical Science, Lagos State University College of Medicine and Consultant Psychologist, described the move as not only commendable but one that would help to reduce the level of drugs among young Nigerians.

Ola said that education on substance abuse and addiction was necessary as the practice continues to increase in the country, a trend he said places the country in a dangerous path going by reports and statistics from relevant bodies.

He, however, called on relevant agencies and stakeholders to continue to work in synergy to address the challenge.