Report on the Just Concluded Training on Drug Policy and Harm Reduction in Oyo State, Nigeria

Written by Moronfolu Adeniyi, chapter leader of Federal University of Agriculture SSDP in Nigeria. 

Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s Nigerian chapters, in a bid to introduce, train, and educate students and youth on drug issues, drug policy, and harm reduction, organized a one-day regional training on drug policy and harm reduction for youth and student organizations in Oyo State, Nigeria. The event, which was the first of its kind by SSDP’s Nigerian chapters, was developed for students and youth in Southwestern Nigeria.

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The members of the Nigerian SSDP network pose for a photo after their first successful Drug Policy and Harm Reduction training workshop

Moronfolu Adeniyi, who is a SSDP leader in Nigeria, welcomed participants by introducing them to the vision, mission, and workings of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. He highlighted the objective of the training and the consequences of the Nigeria drug law and human rights abuses on people who use drugs. Next, the participants were engaged by Dr. Chidobi, Somtochukwu Basil J. who addressed and broke down preconceptions about various kind of drugs and drug use within Nigerian society. This section allowed participants to gain knowledge and understanding of the different types of drugs and their effects. Immediately following was Nurse Dabota Pepple, who used her medical background and a demonstration to broaden students’ knowledge of harm reduction, drug use patterns among youth, and identifying risk behaviors which can lead to exposure to hepatitis, HIV and damage to body tissues. Mr. Olanrewaju Ismaeel discussed different policies in the region, unfavorable laws, and barbaric government rules governing people who use drugs while neglecting the drugs cartels. He illustrated reasons attendees should understand their rights and responsibilities as citizens and be motivated to participate in policy change.

Lilian David, a local coordinator at African Students for Liberty, was on the ground to share the benefit of voluntarism. She recommended young peoples’ interests should be the first priority in every strategic decision made by governments across Africa. She also invited female participants to network and join her at Women for Liberty.DSC_8082

In the conclusion stage, Moronfolu Adeniyi enjoined the gathering to brainstorm a strategic action plan to aid the development of the region and measures to tackle issues relating to drugs and harm reduction as a contribution toward UNGASS 2016. Participants were all glad to respond to questions and contributions by the anchor of the day, Adeagbo Adebowale. He showed appreciation and gratitude to everyone who made the day worthwhile and the dynamic team.

OBJECTIVE AND AIM OF THE TRAINING

  • To introduce participants to the mission, vision, and workings of SSDP
  • To define the needs and requirements of young people who use drugs and to learn about harm reduction and methods to combat risk behavior 
  • To serve as an avenue to increase the membership strength of SSDP’s Nigerian chapters
  • To increase student/youth participation and awareness of issues relating to drug policies and HIV responses and development
  • To identify and discuss drug policies in the region and proffer solutions

QUOTES

“There should be respect of rights freedom for the people to express their concern and equal treatment irrespective of gender, class or race.” Lilian David.

“Drug users shouldn’t be criminalized, stigmatized, brutalized, or deprive of their rights at work, or in the society.” Moronfolu Adeniyi.

DSC_8096KEYWORDS

  • Drugs
  • Policy
  • Harm reduction
  • HIV
  • Freedom and rights

ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTED

  • African Students for Liberty
  • African Liberty Students Organization
  • Youth Health and Development Initiative
  • Drug Safety Club

DURATION

Six (6) Hours

TEAM MEMBERSDSC_8095

  • Opadijo, Olujide Olawole
  • Sodeinde, Ibrahim Adeleke
  • Olanrewaju, Ishameel
  • Fadiora, Olubunmi
  • Adeagbo, Adebowale Stephen
  • Mikhail, Titilola