Drug Foundation Facilitates Training for Police on Prevention, Treatment, Care

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The Drug Salvation Foundation(TDSF) recently facilitated a three-day training on Drug Prevention, Treatment and Care (DPTC) Sensitisation for the Nigeria Police.

The training which came with technical support from the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) saw the trainees benefit from a training module.

President, The Drug Salvation Foundation, Wilson Ighodalo, within this period, knowledge was imparted using adult learning principles by mixing theoretical, practical, discussion, debates and film screenings to challenge and enhance engagement and interest among participants.

Ighodalo, who also doubles as the National Coordinator, NDLEA Celebrity Drug Free Club, said the project “DPTC Sensitisation Training Initiative” for the police on response to Drug Abuse in Nigeria could not have come at a better time considering prevalent drug use in the society among the rich, poor, work place, male, female and young people.

He said: “Currently, drug use and abuse is a very serious social and public health problem that generates great social concern. If a few years ago, speaking of the drug problem usually alluded to illegal drugs as heroin, cocaine, but currently the concern has focused on the consumption of legal drugs such as alcohol, tobacco, pain relief and so on illegally which are considered the gateway to the consumption of other substances.

“ The drug abuse prevalence motivated President Muhammadu Buhari to set up The Presidential Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA), chaired by Brigadier General Buba Marwa (Rtd).

“The committee was set up in December 2018 by the president to advice on how to address the growing challenge of drug abuse in the country and they presented the findings and recommendations of the committee to the president on Friday, October 18, 2019.

“ The president identified with it in ensuring the security and well-being of the Nigerian populace as a responsibility of his government and called for multi-sectoral effort in addressing the rising drug challenge in the country.

“The Nigeria Police has pivotal role to play on response to drug abuse because the police are the closet to the communities, so training the police on evidence-based law enforcement, criminal justice system and public health on response to drug abuse is very important.

“Drug use has now been globally recognised as a public health issue. The language of “War Against Drug Abuse” as often used in drug control response is often synonymous with repression and measures that do not conform with human rights standards.

“These are not in sync with what a public health principle truly holds. More so, as evidence has shown in many society and many climes, such a war becomes a war on People who Use drugs and get expressed in many forms such brutality, criminalisation, denial of health services, stigmatisation, forced detention in the name of treatment and many more.

“We believe, and as the president mentioned, that it is time for us to expand our drug control response beyond the narrow approach of the criminal justice system to providing a holistic response. We would also like to add that such effort should refocus our drug control indicators to promote the human rights, health and well-being of the general public particularly vulnerable and marginalised communities.

“While this president’s steps are laudable, it is important to highlight the need to tackle this drug abuse response through training the Nigeria Police on Drug Prevention, Treatments and Care (DPTC) Sensitisation.

“Furthermore, Nigeria’s implementation of the Universal Health Coverage which is currently at the fore of global discuss, rooted in the principle of leaving no one behind, can only and truly be achieved when the government invest in Harm Reduction services to mitigate the health consequences of drug use and achieve the health for all mandate.”

He added, “The Drug Salvation Foundation-Nigeria is committed to evidence-based-informed drug training and policy reform in Nigeria and we look forward to the next course of action by the government and strongly believe after the Nigeria Police training will result on humane, human right and public health oriented central to addressing drug use challenge in the country.

“The DPTC training which is in phases (all the 36 States Police Commands & FCT) targets to change the perception and approach of the officers of the Nigeria Police to the Drug User and the Drug Use Problem in Nigeria.

“The evaluation from the police officers says that DPTC Sensitisation training sessions is eye opener to response to Drug Abuse also are easy to understand and hard to forget. Our appreciation goes to the entire Nigeria Police Force, Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu; the Force PRO, DCP Frank Mba and UNODC.