In 2018, the NOIPolls survey concluded that marijuana, codeine and alcohol are the most abused substances in Nigeria, "Particularly among teenagers and young adults aged between 15 and 29 years old." And the younger ones still have more problems. They can see their older siblings, relatives and friends experiencing 542 (the street name for Rohypnol, a tranquilizer that is about ten times more potent than Valium), tramadol, codeine and other substances.
Cross section of students in Surulere, Lagos, during MTN ASAP 2019
During the latest edition of MTN's drug problem among young people in Nigeria, the Anti-Drug Abuse Program (ASAP), a 14-year-old SS1 student at a public high school in Lagos, told the dark story of one of his friends who he became addicted to Rohypnol. "He came from the village ehn. He went with some people and now everything has spoiled for him. They took him to the hospital because his heart and kidney are no longer functioning well."He still doesn't know his friend's whereabouts",I don't know where he is, they took him back to the village. They will not let us see you. A long time ago, he looked normal, like a nice guy, but before he left, he looked like trash!" This was a Nigerian boy with a lot of promise!
The COVID-19 pandemic restricted movement, but not substance abuse and dependence. So MTN decided to change the conversation this year. On Friday, June 26, 2020, some of Nigeria's greatest artists, influencers, the brightest minds in psychiatry and rehab will gather for Drug Convos – a barrier-free virtual conversation about substance abuse among young Nigerians. The company has partnered with one of Africa's biggest youth voices, MTV Base; Nigeria's leading business newspaper, business day; UNODC and the Ministry of Health of Nigeria.
So, if you're young, Nigerian, you love a good essence, madt music, Nigerian pop culture and you want to hear how It's too hot, you know where your phones, laptops and tablets should be linked at 1:30 pm on Friday! You can also follow all the essence of social media with #MTNASAP #FactsForSolidarity. And you can register on here for a place at Drug Convos. Enough said!
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