By Abimbola Ologun

Addiction and Substance abuse are insidious diseases that can ensnare anyone, regardless of background or circumstance. The grip of addiction is powerful, leading individuals to prioritize their substance use above all else, often at the expense of their physical, mental, and social wellbeing. While this devastating trend has plagued societies, continued research and understanding of its underlying causes can help us combat its harmful effects and provide much needed support for those affected.

By recognizing the effects of addiction and substance abuse, we can better support those who are struggling and promote healthier behavioural lifestyle.

What is Addiction? Addiction is a chronic brain disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences. Similarly, substance abuse is the use of substance such as drugs or alcohol in a harmful and hazardous way leading to negative consequences.

In an insightful and enlightening conversation with the Beautiful Day Testimonial, a former addict turned pastor at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, and an administrator at Christ Against Drug Abuse Ministry (CADAM), Pastor Testimony Ogheneruvweyovwi, offered valuable insights into the complex world of substance abuse and addiction. Sharing his personal experience and expertise knowledge, he provided unique perspectives on these issues that plague many individuals and communities. Excerpts:

Can you tell us a little bit about CADAM?

The full meaning of CADAM is Christ Against Drug Abuse Ministry and on the 2nd June 2024, CADAM clocked 33 years that it was inaugurated by Pastor Ezekiel Odeyemi. CADAM is not only for the Redeemed Christian Church of God, but its Cosmopolitan. People come from South Africa, Europe, Liberia, and all geopolitical zones in Nigeria.

There are two phases in CADAM: once you do 6 months rehabilitation, you go on break for two weeks, and you voluntarily come back again to learn your vocation for six months, then the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment will issue you trade test certificate when you graduate. It is a whole package but basically it is a Christian Assisted Therapy; we have a clinic with two registered nurses but it is for tropical diseases.

CADAM is the flagship of Christian Social Responsibility of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, every other one follows CADAM.

Usually, we recruit in Abuja, Benin, we also do screening in Port Harcourt, then we cap it all in our corporate headquarters here in Estate 11 CADAM House. Those who are shortlisted will all meet at CADAM hostel in Canaanland Market; it is like a shelter house for weaning or pruning them to know those who qualify to move forward to the Folu & Enoch Rehabilitation Centres located at Epe.

It is quite educational; we have over 200 male and female facilities, psychologists, security officers, wardens, pastors, vocational skills facilitators and adult education teachers for some of them who didn’t go to school as there should be social re-integration back to the society.

Pastor Testimony Ogheneruvweyovwi

As someone who has experienced addiction first-hand and now plays a pivotal role in the recovery process for others, I’d love to hear your personal definition of addiction and substance abuse. What does addiction mean to you?

Substance Abuse is a disorder; it is either when you use a prescription or overuse the prescription. More to the later, when you overstep a physician’s prescription, it is already an abuse or misuse. While addiction is when you cannot do without it again, you cannot do without a substance, you are already hooked, and there is a craving. A substance abuse is not 100 percent the same as addiction though every addiction is substance abuse. One can abuse a substance once but may not end up with addiction, but every addiction has trappings of substance abuse. The abused substance maybe prescribed like in medicines and may not be prescribed like glue or stinking toilets or some traditional herbs.

A drug is any substance that when you take it in, either intravenously or by inhalation, or through your mouth, it will change your mood. Any substance you take in that will change your mood is called s drug.

Is drug addiction primarily a physical issue of substance dependency, or does it have deep spiritual roots?

Well, if you look at it holistically, marijuana comes from Africa especially from Delta and Ondo. The demon of marijuana is a territorial demon in Africa.

When you talk about heroine and morphine, that was the reason England leased Hongkong to China for 99 years, it is because morphine is used to keep bullet wounds. After 1998, China took Hongkong back but that area of volcanic hatch was very good for planting opium poppy. Opium poppy is the raw materials for heroine and morphine and all these Colorado. They mix other chemicals used in horse racing to make animals perform during sports together with the heroine and this will activate more tension. At that moment, there will be hallucination such that the person will be on a ten storey building and will think he is nearby, he will just want to step down only to discover halfway that he isn’t getting down and by that time it is already too late.

One can see a moving truck and think it is a goat. Holistically, drug addiction has a spiritual connotation, it is not a physical matter, it is a spiritual attack not only to the CADAMITE, but worldwide because no family in the world doesn’t have drug problem. It can be extended, distance or proximal, it may not be all the drugs that the NDLEA put on the list, it could be some drugs in the home, even evostic gum.

Is that another abuse?

You could say that, even the droppings of a lizard is another abuse, they sniff it like cocaine or burukutu. Even oranges, if you squeeze it and put it somewhere for 4 to 5 days, it will ferment, and even 3 to 4 days urine intoxicates. Sniffing the toilet gives a high, though scientists say those who suffer a stroke when they inhale their own early morning toilet, it’ll create some hormones in the body that will negate any stroke, but that is still a research. For someone to go to someone else’s droppings or waste and begin to feel satisfied; you can see there is a link between that and insanity. Every drug addict is an insane person.

Considering the havoc that addiction and substance abuse can wreck on people’s lives, can you describe some of the far-reaching impact that these issues might have?

The impact is, as a drug addict you won’t be able to meet up with the economic side of life, you won’t be able to cater for your family and manage your home. Like in my own days, I sold both things that were mine and things that were not mine. Also, I wasn’t presentable at that time; I couldn’t even attend my sibling’s wedding. A chronic addict is a customer to the prison.

Also, for a chronic substance addict, he can ask other males to sleep with his wife to have his stuffs. Such a person won’t be able to complete school. I finished from the university in 1986, and I wasn’t able to do my masters until 2012 because I was into drugs. Most of the drugs like Colorado, Arizona act as a catalyst for mental breakdown I suffered comorbidity, a psychological disorder that needs psychiatric help.

The awareness that substance abuse was taking a toll on your life can be a pivotal moment in recovery. In your own experience, can you pinpoint a specific time when you became aware of the damage drugs were inflicting on you both physically, emotionally? Did something happen that led you to seek help?

Yes, my younger sister who is in Canada now triggered the change. As at that time, she was a banker at UBA. When I finished from Benin at the age of 21, she was still in JSS 3. She finished her degree and got married; I was not able to attend the marriage because I wasn’t presentable.

When the police were looking for me for examination malpractices, I ran to her place at Sango, I stayed there for 2 years and then rented my first apartment as a human being near the drug joints.

One day, when she wanted to travel, she said to me that I needed to be taken to the hospital and I should choose any hospital of my choice; that was when I realized something was wrong with me. At that point I said to myself, this people want to give me an injection that will make me stupid.

I then went to the joint I used to at Pen Cinema; that was where I was told that there is a Rehab centre known as CADAM and that was in 2005. So, someone took me there. When I got there, I registered and I was told to smoke whatever I needed to smoke, I sold all what they gave me from home and used the proceed to smoke before I entered the church at Epe.

It is crucial to understand that withdrawing can be a harrowing process. For those who find the initial phase of this therapy overwhelming to continue and they opt out, are there measures in place to support such individuals?

Why not; people opt out and that is why in CADAM if you opt out, when you want to come back, you will pay a token fee of three hundred thousand.

We have two versions of CADAM: the free one in Epe and the fee-paying one in Abeokuta. If you can’t accommodate the free one, then try the fee-paying one. That is why we always ask if they are ready for the programme.

Apart from the influence of peers, which was a factor in your personal experience, are there other possible causes of substance abuse that you have observed or learnt about in your work with CADAM?

Aside from peer education, you see what others are doing and you want to belong, it could also be illness. That is why we don’t do Medically Assisted Therapy; we do Christ Assisted therapy. At times it could be what doctors recommended.

We have a nurse who is still in her phase 1; when asked how she became addicted, she responded that because of menstrual pain the doctor said she should be using a drug and she became addicted.

During sickness or malady, people can become addicted. When you are growing up and your father is a drug addict, or a foetus in the womb that the mother is still inhaling or imbibing, that can lead to a baby being born drunk.

It is either hereditary or environmental, though there is no clear-cut theory that states once a father is a drug addict or drunk, the son has to be an addict or drunk. At times, it is the mindset.

Based on your experience and knowledge, what advice would you offer to parents and young people in order to address substance abuse?

The only advice is to do what Daddy Adeboye did to his boys: “if we discover you are having the forbidden things, I will hand you over to the police myself, I will not bail you again.” Let them be Christians indeed. In their youth, police them. Guide them against cultism as there is a thin line between cultism and substance abuse. Take care of your child; know who is carrying your babies.

Lastly, let there be a regular check on substance abuse in the house, just like you do pregnancy checks, buy kits, have them urinate and test for drugs. Parents can have these kits in their home.

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2 Responses

  1. Good job.
    May the good Lord keep blessing and enlarging the coasts of our precious parents in the Lord Daddy E.A.Adeboye and Mummy Folu Adeboye.

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