The EU, through United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), has scaled up its ongoing support to ensure access to treatment services by drug users in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, with the donation of personal protective equipment and other supplies to 25 drug treatment centres in Nigeria.
Representatives of EU and UNODC delivered the equipment and supplies on Tuesday, 12 May 2020, to YouthRise, a non-governmental organization providing community-based treatment services to female drug users in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The donation is to support COVID-19 prevention among drug users in Nigeria. It includes disposable facemasks, disposable gloves, hand sanitizers, hand-wash liquid, and infrared thermometers. Also included are Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials in English, Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa and Pidgin English that provide information on protective measures against the virus and contact details of DrugHelpNet, the network of drug treatment service providers offering tele-health services to drug users.
The Nigeria Drug Use Survey estimates that there are over 14.3 million drug users in Nigeria, over 3 million of whom are high-risk users with some drug use disorder. Drug users face a particularly high-risk for COVID-19 infection with the current movement restrictions, which has the potential to trigger increases in drug use and worsen underlying health conditions.