Launched May 29 last year, the Alive for Tomorrow Initiative (AFTI) is a non governmental organisation, which actively helps victims of drug abuse and misuse, using a non-coercieve and non-legal approach.
AFTI founded by Pharm (Dr.) Comfort Ottah has continued to reach out to vulnerable groups in Kebbi and beyond, organized awareness campaigns on the dangers of drug abuse and gifted items to those in need.
In this article, Dr. Ottah talks about the job at hand, components of AFTI and how young people can get pass drugs.
One common misconception a lot of people have about drug abuse is that most illicit drug users are street thugs – area boys and girls – who use the substances to gain false aggression in order to perpetuate their menace. While there is some truth to this, studies have shown that this is not entirely so. Sadly, users of illicit drug range from teenagers in secondary schools to even business people and civil servants who daily struggle in secret with the habit. The challenge is also not linked to any gender in particular as both male and female alike are victims of the habit.
Another myth that needs to be debunked is the assumption that peer pressure is the sole cause of new “admissions” into the habit. In reality, the number of reasons people begin the use and abuse of illicit drugs are quite diverse. We recognize the need to treat each case according to their unique individuality. A lot of youths have made mistakes and today, are suffering the consequences of these mistakes. Many think returning to the right path is impossible.
Others feeling betrayed by families, the government and the society at large have lost hope of ever achieving anything good. Some of the activities of the government/governance, parents/ family members, friends/peers, and personal activities have only served to re-enforce that notion to them. But, this organization seeks to quench that notion. Because every living being has needs and aspirations, most individuals look for ways to satisfy these aspirations. When unable to achieve these dreams, some people turn to the use of anything that can mask and drown their sorrows… in the form of drugs/substances. These drugs/substances when taken temporarily dull one’s senses and numb the ‘pain’.
Asides from the challenge of stigmatization, illicit drug users face economic challenge of the need to keep buying these (usually) high-priced substances, and when they cannot keep it up, they turn to crime to obtain finances which they use to sustain the habit. We desire to help overcome the drug problem, and directly or indirectly, the resulting economic challenges as well.
When ingested, drugs can block, enhance, or synergize with normal body chemicals. That is to say, drugs modify the normal body chemicals to give their effects. When taken with proper prescription, these drugs have the capacity to heal and mend our bodies. But, when taken abusively, these drugs cause modifications which can lead to diseases and damage vital body organs like the kidney, heart, liver, etc. No substance or drug acts alone without modifying normal body function. These alterations destabilize normal body activities, which lead to several complications in the victims and in some cases, dependence on the substance/drugs.
Alive for Tomorrow Initiative had mapped out plans and activities for the year 2020, which were put on a temporary pause in accordance with COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. This has however, not hindered our reach in terms of phone and online counseling. As more facts are discovered about the virus and restrictions are eased, we have plans to reach out to even more persons.