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Drug Addiction Essay Competition for Secondary Schools


12 November 2018

Mahmoud Bukar Maina


“We are calling on students to partake in an essay competition around drug addiction and potential solutions to curb its rise in Nigeria. We hope that this would help in raising awareness among students about drug addiction, increase their interest in biomedical science and encourage them to think critically about solving societal problems.”


Mahmoud Bukar Maina, PhD FRSA

Founder, Science Communication Hub Nigeria & 

The essay competition

The problem of drug addiction among young male and female Nigerians has come to light recently. Thousands abuse drugs like Codeine, per day. Innumerable evidence has shown that drug addiction affects health in both the short term and the long term, leading to death, as well as affecting societal productivity. According to the Gateway Foundation, “more deaths, illnesses and disabilities are associated with drug abuse than any other preventable health condition. People suffering from drug and alcohol addiction also have a higher risk of unintentional injuries, accidents and domestic violence incidents.”


Many published researches observed that drug use begins at an early age, often in secondary schools. Moreover, young students pick interest in science mostly in secondary schools. We want to raise awareness about the downsides of drug use, science of drug addiction and motivate students to think critically about solving societal problems. Therefore, we are calling on secondary school students to participate in an essay competition about drug use/abuse in their societies and how it can be reduced. 


Format of competition

Students should write no more than 500 hundred words addressing the following questions:

  • Is addiction to a drug a problem in your community?

  • How dangerous can drug abuse be to a person’s health?

  • Why is it important to raise awareness about this problem? 

  • If given for example 50, 000 Naira, what Ideas do you have to help in reducing or developing solutions towards drug addiction in your community?



Individuals that wrote the top three essays will receive:

  1. A personal prize of 30, 000 Naira

  2. A signed prize certificate

  3. Their schools will each receive free Carl Zeiss Teaching Microscope

  4. A science outreach will be organised for their school


Individuals that wrote the 3 runner-up essays will receive:

  1. A personal prize of 15, 000 Naira

  2. A signed prize certificate

  3. Their schools will each receive free Carl Zeiss Teaching Microscope

  4. A science outreach will be organised for their school


In addition to the above:

  • All notable submissions will receive a written commendation.

  • All eligible essays will be published on Science Communication Hub Nigeria 



  • The essay should be written by one student (or a group of three students) per school.

  • If the essay was written by a group, the submission should be made by one student 

  • The competition is intended for Nigerian schools.


Evaluation Criteria

An independent selection committee will evaluate submissions based on their ability to meet the following criteria:

  • How well is the essay written?

  • Is the essay free of plagiarism?

  • Has the writer cited examples of the problems facing his/her community?

  • How well is the potential community impact communicated?

  • How good are the solutions the writer proposed for his community?

  • Was the essay written by the student?



  • 13th November: Applications open

  • 15th December: Submission deadline

  • January 2019: Video interview with potential winners to validate their submissions 

  • January 2019: Winners announced

  • February/March: Outreach in schools


All applications should be submitted via

If the recent rise in drug addiction among young Nigerians is not curbed, it will pose serious growth and developmental challenges not only to the health of the individuals affected but also to the social, educational and economic development of Nigeria. We believe that young Nigerians should partake in synthesising solutions to this problem”


Mustapha Muhammad Shehu, PhD 

Nigeria Coordinator for Outreach,

TReND in Africa & Science Communication Hub Nigeria

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