INTRODUCTION: Despite efforts by government and non-governmental organizations across the world to reduce cases of drug and substance abuse, the prevalence of substance use among people is alarming.
The church’s role as outlined in the Holy Bible is not just concentrated on the spiritual well-being of the people in the community alone but all round wellness encompasses social, physical and psychological well-being.
Some of the roles of faith-based organizations in the prevention of substance use that were covered in this write include the creation of public awareness, community mobilization, counselling and rehabilitation services, and conducting mentorship programmes.
The use of religion and spiritual intervention in preventing and treating substance abuse has been well-established across the world (Wallace, Myers & Osai, 2015).
The possible ways religion may influence substance use and recovery include establishing evidence-based intervention, providing opportunities to acquire learned competencies, and providing social and organizational relationships.
Thus, faith-based organizations can work in partnership with other organizations to prevent drug and substance abuse in their various communities.
Substance abuse refers to the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs. Its prevalence and trends have been on increasing.
The world’s total population is aged 15-64 years abusing drugs and substances annually (United Nations Office on Drug and Crime, 2018).
Role of FBOs in this year’s Theme: People First, Stop the Stigma and Discrimination, Strengthen Prevention.
Community Mobilization to Stop the Stigma and Discrimination.
Promoting Counseling Services and Rehabilitation.
Organize capacity building for Youths to strengthen prevention. Public awareness of the Nexus between Substance Abuse and HIV/ Hepatitis.
Mentorship and leadership model.
Faith-Based Organizations should focus on strengthening collaborations for prevention intervention at all levels.
Expanding local resources, and building capacity to provide substance abuse prevention, treatment, and mental health services, as well as program management.
Community Collaboration and Fund Raising:
Faith-Based Organizations should also expand their capacity when tackling drug and substance abuse problems among young people by partnering more with other sectors.
For instance, FBOs can appeal for funds to train and training of her members.
COST EFFECTIVENESS OF PREVENTION FOR FBOS:
Prevention is also a wise financial investment. Every Kobo invested in prevention saves several nairas later on down the line. That otherwise would have been spent on the fallout from drug abuse, i.e., medical costs, criminal justice expenses, treatment costs, collateral damage, legal fees, etc.
FBOS FAMILY INTERVENTION:
Children living with substance abuse need preventive intervention at an early stage to live a drug-free lifestyle.
Therefore, as children try to imitate their parents and begin experimenting with drugs, there is to prevent parental crisis in the fight against drug and substance abuse among youths and their parents.
FBOS TEACHING HER MEMBERS:
Talking to Loved Ones About Drugs Saves Lives.
Though it receives little recognition or public attention, drug abuse prevention efforts should be focused on and expanded among members. Programs that halt drug addiction before it even occurs should be fostered.
Further, it is far more cost-effective to prevent people from ever coming down with drug addiction than it is to treat them when they’ve come down with a problem.
In order words prevention is safer, cheaper and beneficial and cost-effective than treatment.
STOPPING THE STIGMA BY FBOS:
However, stigmas and stereotypes still prevent many Nigerians from openly discussing drugs, and prevention only has broad workability when everyone participates in it.
With this in mind, prevention cannot just be a public health policy initiative only but rather a collective effort. It should be FBOs initiative to start this among members by promoting the choice of languages and preventing acts of discrimination towards people who use drugs (PWUD) and those with substance use disorder (SUD).
FBs event self-denial among members and parental denial because of stigma.
FBOS COLLABORATION IN DRUG ABUSE PREVENTION AND HIV/HEPATITIS:
FBOs should also expand their capacity when tackling drug and substance use problems by addressing the issue of HIV/ HEPATITIS among those who use injectable drugs.
In achieving this they need to strengthen collaboration with the National Agency for the Control of ADIS (NACA) SACA and LACA.
A government organization coordinating HIV activities in Nigeria at the National, State and Local government levels
CREATION OF COUNSELLING SERVICES:
Faith-based organizations need to play a key role in reducing the burden of drug abuse across the world through counselling and rehabilitation programmes.
Church leaders need to take a role in counselling societies is key in substance use prevention, and treatment. Providing a safe place for people who prodrugs or substances to talk without discrimination.
Making Public Awareness as Part of Their Evangelism: FOBs should make awareness against illicit drugs part of their evangelism. In their respective religious denominations, jointly taking awareness in youth groups and schools. Supporting victims of Substance Use Disorder in treatment, and rehabilitation to aid the recovery process and reintegration back into society.
CONDUCTING MENTORSHIP PROGRAMMES, TRAINING AND RETRAINING OF MEMBERS:
Mentoring consists of matching an experienced adult follower of Christ with youths and young adults. Mentoring is an old Christian practice based on Apostle Paul’s relationship with Timothy. Engaging mentorship including parents and teachers in parental care and proper upbringing of children.
Therefore, It fits perfectly for mature followers of Jesus Christ to promote a united drug-free lifestyle, healthy living and all-rounder Wellness Socially, Physically, Psychologically and Spiritually since health is a continuum.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR FBOS IN SUBSTANCE USE PREVENTION SERVICES:
Receive training and retraining in universal substance use prevention, treatment and recovery through the International Society of Substance Use Professionals at home and abroad. Become a certified Prevention Professional, Treatment Specialist and Recovery Coach or Allies. Be well equipped with knowledge in Evidence-Based Practices in prevention, treatment and recovery.
In conclusion, there are a variety of opportunities for faith-based organizations in substance use prevention from a Christian perspective.
Based on this year’s theme, the FBOs stand a chance to do more in helping youth and young adults to discard the habit of drug and substance use.
Furthermore, the FBOs and other interested partners may adopt some of the theme points, People First, stop stigma and discrimination to do more in touching the lives of young people, especially those affected by alcohol and substance use disorder.
FBOs should promote youth mentorship programmes to empower the young economically.
FBOs discourage negative behaviours, name callings, and unhealthy language through the promotion of religious values that improve hope among those Who Use Drugs (WUD).