IN RECOGNITION OF HER ROLE IN PROMOTING HEALTH AND WELL-BEING AMONG ADOLESCENT GIRLS’, WGCCEEO SELECTED FOR 2018 YOUTHRISE DRUG POLICY ACADEMY

WGCCEEO was among the NGOs selected for the 2018 YouthRise Drug Policy Academy in recognition of her active role in promoting Health and Well-Being among Adolescent Girls’. The Program took place at the Dennis Hotel Abuja Nigeria from Monday 21st May 2018 to Wednesday 23rd May 2018.
Day 1.
The program commenced with participants’ introducing themselves and their expectations from the Academy. Program Director YouthRise Nigeria Seyi Kehinde informed the participants’ that his organization is an advocacy and service based organization which envisions a society where the Health, Human –Rights and Development of every young person in Nigeria is promoted and protected. The strategic focus of YouthRise Nigeria are – Drug Policy Reform, Harm Reduction, HIV & Sexual Health and Research.
The program continued with Adeolu Adebiyi Executive Director Youth-Rise Nigeria presenting a paper on Myths and Misconceptions about Drug Use which includes but not limited to- Drug Users’ are from Broken Homes and Drug Users are addicted to Drugs; after which Maria –Goretti Loglo of the International Drug Policy consortium gave a Background to International Drug Policy and current Drug Control approaches where she said that a standard Drug Policy should be based on Evidence, Human Rights Public-Health and Development. She informed the participants’ that Drug Policy Convention began in 1961 with the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs after which there was another one in 1971 – the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances and then in 1988 the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. She went ahead to say that current Drug Policies criminalizes users and also do not focus on their Health and Well-Being.
The Day’s program came to an end with Adeolu Adebiyi exposing the participants to the current Drug Situation in Nigeria which are –
• Huge criminal black market
• Policy displacement
• Geographical displacement
• Marginalization and stigma
• Violence and corruption
• Prison overcrowding
• Severe human rights violations.
• Health harms
In systematically addressing these issues, there is need for
• A review of the current Drug Policy (It should prioritize Health, Human-Rights and Development)
• An open and inclusive debate
• Support policy experimentation
• Promote harm reduction
• Support decriminalization.
He recommended:
• The promotion of meaningful participation and involvement of Civil Society, Scientific Community and Drug Users in the development and implementation of Drug Policies at the National and Global Level.
• Persons who use Drugs must not be subject to any form of punishment such as Criminal penalties, Police harassment and incarceration.
• Harm Reduction should be prioritized as an evidence based intervention for universal access to HIV/Prevention, Treatment & Care for injecting drug users.
• Drug policy reform should have a Gender Dimension.
Day 2.
The second day commenced with a recap of the first day training and Nonso Maduka facilitating the Session on Drugs and Addiction; in his presentation he highlighted the following as factors responsible for Drug Use – Peer Pressure, Curiosity/Experiment, Family History of Substance Use, Poor Personal & Social Skills and Family Neglect. He went on to say that Drugs were classified as – Narcotics, Dissociates, Stimulants, Depressants, Psychedelics, Empathogens and Cannabinoids and factors which affects Drug Effects are- Age, Gender, Body-Weight, Biological Factors, Frequency of Use, Route of Administration, Dose Response Relationship, Health Conditions, Mindset and Drug Use Policy.
Anita Krug YouthRise International facilitated the session on Substance Use, Youth and Mental Health and Harm Reduction where she exposed to the participants the Australian experience in dealing with Harm Reduction among drug addicts. She defined Mental Health as a state of Well-Being in which every individual realizes his/her potential. Key principles of Harm Reduction are;
• Accept that drug use is part of the society
• Non-judgemental approach
• Evidence Based
• Cost-Effective
• Promote Public Health
• Respect Human Right.
Maria-Goretti Loglo continued by educating participants’ on Balanced and Effective Drug Policy, which should be focused on ‘Decriminalization’ and thereafter divided the participants into group of 5 to work on ‘Tree of Balanced Drug Policy’. The Day’s program came to an end with a documentary screening- The Indian Experience.
Day 3.
The day’s program began as usual with a recap of the activities of the previous day. Adeolu Adebiyi presented a paper on the United Nations’ Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) standard for Drug Use prevention and Segun Sangowawa of the Population Council Abuja presenting a paper on Behavioral Change Communication where he described the determinants of behavior as Internal (Knowledge, Personal Belief, Attitude, Skills, Self –Efficacy and Perceived Social Norms and External (Access to Resources, Policy and Culture). He defined Behavior Change Communication as an interactive process of working with individuals and communities to-
• Develop communication strategies to promote positive behavior with the objective of increasing knowledge, initiating community dialogue, promoting services, creating demand for services and promoting positive changes in attitudes and behaviours.
He went on to say that elements of a successful campaign are Mobilization and Power of Evidence and Data and the stage of Change involves-
• First people become unaware of a problem
• Next they gather knowledge and learn new skills
• Then they get motivated to do something about the problem
• They try a new behavior to solve the problem
• They succeed in maintaining the new behavior
All of this involves interventions at –
• Individual and family level
• Social, Environment and the Community
• Structural Policy
• Health & Support Services.
The program continued with a presentation by Maria –Goretti Loglo on Drug Policy and Human Rights and a Documentary Screening – We are People (Human Rights behind Closed Doors).Program came to an end with the presentation of certificates to participants and the organizers’ urging the participants to draw up an Action Plan for implementation which would be carried out in collaboration with Youth-Rise Nigeria.

One Comment

  1. Aina Folorunsho
      September 17, 2018 at 9:46 AM

    WGCCEEO should create mechanisms to train young persons on the negative effect of substance abuse.

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