Group Launches Campaign against Underage Drinking

Ugo Aliogo

The Beer Sectoral Group (BSG) of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), in collaboration with Collingwood Learning Incorporated and Thespian Theatre has launched the SMASHED programme.

The programme, endorsed by the Federal Ministry of Health and supported by local health and education authorities in the country, is aimed at breaking the culture of underage drinking and reducing alcohol-related harm among youths.

Speaking at the launch, the BSG Chairman, Mr. Jordi Borut Bel expressed the group’s delight to support the adoption of the SMASHED underage drinking programme as it strengthens activities that are currently being undertaken by individual member companies “to ensure that our products are not sold to or consumed by persons under the age of 18.”

Borut Bel noted that the project, which commenced in May in Edo State, would move to Anambra and Enugu States in September and October, covering over 60 public and private schools and reaching over 14,000 students.

“The expectation of the BSG is that the programme will be scaled-up to involve at least six additional states in Nigeria by 2020 with plans for wider coverage in the coming years.”

In her remarks, the CEO of Thespian Theatre, Ms. Ayo Jaiyesinmi expressed confidence that the group would continue to partner the BSG and local health and education authorities in ensuring that the programme addresses issues related with underage drinking among Nigerian youths.

While affirming the endorsement of the initiative by the Federal Ministry of Health, the Deputy Director, Food and Drug Services Department of the ministry, Celine Onunkwo said the objective of the SMASHED project is in line with the global strategy to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol which was put together by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2010 and the WHO global action plan for the prevention and control of STDs in 2013-2020.

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