The theme of World Drug Day 2022 is ‘well being and humanitarian crises’. To commemorate the Day, UNODC is highlighting its work on drug prevention and remedy world wide, notably in disaster conditions.
Nigeria, 24 June 2022 – Yemisi, a scholar at a college in Nigeria, had two issues in early 2020.
She was a drug person. And he or she was pregnant – with out the information of her conservative Nigerian household, who had been additionally unaware of her drug behavior.
When Nigeria imposed a lockdown following the outbreak of COVID-19, Yemisi’s college closed, and she or he needed to return to her household. Already 5 months pregnant on the time, Yemisi had but to enroll in prenatal remedy and was utilizing a cocktail of medication – hashish, codeine, diazepam – all dangerous to her and her unborn baby. Yemisi frightened most about how her father, who was severely sick, would react.
“I take advantage of medicine to deal with emotions of hysteria, failure, and disappointment,” Yemisi confessed. “I’m pregnant and frightened that my sick father will discover out and it’ll result in his loss of life. I can’t bear that thought.”
Tales like Yemisi’s have develop into an increasing number of widespread in Nigeria as a result of a humanitarian disaster in its northeastern area. In accordance with the UN Workplace for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, an estimated 8.4 million girls, males, and kids are in want of humanitarian help in 2022. Assaults by non-state armed teams, along with conflicts over land rights, have displaced hundreds of thousands and decimated livelihoods and the supply of important providers.
In accordance with the UN Workplace on Medication and Crime (UNODC), drug use and drug use issues are more and more acknowledged as main causes of morbidity and mortality in lots of battle or disaster-affected conditions. Displaced populations could also be weak to such issues for quite a few causes, together with pre- or post-displacement stress and trauma, lack of properties and livelihoods, violence, torture, and household separation. COVID-19 exacerbated such challenges, because the well being disaster disrupted the standard supply of providers and remedy to folks utilizing medicine.
Nigeria’s COVID-19 lockdown meant that the estimated three million Nigerians residing with some type of drug use dysfunction had been prone to shedding entry to remedy choices.
Assist arrived for Yemisi through a pal who shared the phone quantity for DrugHelpNet, a community of drug remedy service professionals offering over-the-phone help to drug customers throughout the lockdown.
Yemisi referred to as DrugHelpNet’s counsellors. “I’m frightened that I won’t have entry to medicine and gained’t deal with my present scenario with out utilizing medicine,” she instructed them.
“I’m nonetheless traumatized from the brutal lack of my mom throughout the farmer-herder disaster in our group,” she continued, referring to the often-deadly disputes over the shrinking quantity of land out there for farming and grazing.
“My life is ruined and I really feel ineffective.”
However because of DrugHelpNet, Yemisi was given a spot to reside and obtained each prenatal care and psychosocial assist, inserting her on the trail to restoration. DrugHelpNet additionally related her with a suicide prevention group to handle her suicidal ideas.
“Prior to now, I felt like this pandemic had strangled the final ray of hope I needed to make issues proper,” Yemisi shared. However after receiving the primary three weeks of assist, Yemisi stated she had realized “how to deal with my cravings,” including that “my sleep has improved…I’m additionally not utilizing as a lot as earlier than.”
Yemisi is one in every of over 1,000 drug customers who’ve benefitted from DrugHelpNet since its launch in April 2020. DrugHelpNet consists of over 80 frontline well being staff, together with medical docs, drug counsellors, and allied professionals throughout the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria. It contains seven drug remedy drop-in centres, supported by the European Union-funded “Response to Medication and Associated Organised Crime Venture”, carried out by UNODC.
As COVID-19 restrictions ease in Nigeria and worldwide, the Nigerian Society of Dependancy Drugs – the present supervisor of DrugHelpNet – hopes to make the community a extra everlasting construction. Initiatives underway embody efforts to create toll-free strains for DrugHelpNet to extend accessibility to its providers.