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Promoting Evidenced-Based Practices in Substance use Prevention for Community-based centers in North-West Nigeria

By Fatima Abiola Popoola
Principal Staff Officer, DDR
NDLEA, Nigeria

May 2021

Over the past year alone, nearly 15% of the adult population in Nigeria (around 14.3 million people) reported a “considerable level” of use of psychoactive drug substances, this is a rate much higher than the 2016 global average of 5.6% among adults (2018 national drug survey). It is a general knowledge that in resource-poor settings like ours, where substance use is high and resources are limited the emergence of unprofessional services Is not a surprise.

Caring for people who use drugs involves multidisciplinary approaches where all aspects of the society are involved at coming to the problem from several disciplines. These diversified individuals: community/religious leaders, teachers, parents, clergymen/women, security personnel, students, counsellors, nurses, doctors, engineers etc. must understand which strategies are effective to get positive results from substance use prevention and treatment processes. The introduction of the Universal Prevention Curriculum (UPC) and Universal Treatment Curriculum (UTC) to substance use professionals in Nigeria has been a win-win process to bring awareness of evidence-based prevention and treatment practices to our region of Nigeria.

However, most of these professionals are not aware of the UTC and UPC and the few who have knowledge are constrained by resources to avail themselves of the available trainings. In the year 2019, the government of Nigeria went all out to clamp down on illegal and unprofessional treatment centres where drug users were forced and tortured to be treated for substance use problems and other related mental illnesses. Due to this development, some concerned professionals deemed it important to come-up with a professional code of ethics and to train over one hundred community-based workers and volunteers in substance use settings in northwest Nigeria in order to encourage and promote evidenced based practices in substance use prevention and treatments. I will be presenting the outcomes of this training in the forthcoming summer ICUDDR Virtual Conference coming up by July 20-21, 2021. Let’s make it a date.

** You can attend Fatima’s panel session on July 21st at 12:15-1:15PM EDT. Registration will be open soon on our conference page.