There was an unprecedented rise in the prevalence of alcohol and drug related
problems in the country by the mid-eighties. This was evidenced by the increase in
the number of drug related admissions in many of the treatment hospitals and by the
phenomenal rise in the number of drug related offences particularly that of trafficking
The Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Aro, rose to this challenge quite early on by establishing
the first drug abuse treatment unit in Nigeria in 1983. Dr. J. D. A. Makanjuola, a one
time the Director- General, Federal Ministry of Health & Social Services was the first
psychiatrist to manage the centre. The centre marketed a complete departure from
the hitherto practice of treating drug addicts alongside mentally disordered patients
within the same wards.
The centre was named after Professor Amechi Anumonye as Amechi Anumonye Drug
Abuse, Treatments, Education and Research Centre in honour of his contributions to
the problem of drug abuse. The centre provides training for drug abuse personnel
and undertakes research in alcohol and drug abuse problems. The unit was reorganized
in 1990 and the treatment programme modified and broadened by the current
Consultant-in-Charge of the unit Dr. (Mrs.) T. A. Adamson.
The treatment modality is based on the disease model of alcoholism and other drugs
of abuse. The disorder being regarded as a chronic one requiring long term
commitment. The unit operates a modified from of both the Minnesota Model of
treatment and the Therapeutic Community models (TC). The modifications
incorporated into the programme cater for the socio-cultural differences between
the Nigerian patients and their oversees counterparts where the treatment modalities
are mostly in use. Treatment inputs include Group Therapy, Counselling, Drug
Education, Relaxation Therapy, Spiritual Therapy, Twelve-Steps, Bibliotherapy, Ho
seat, Family Sessions and others.
While admission to the unit is contingent on the patient meeting the strict admissio
criteria, staying in treatment is contingent on the patient’s ability to abide he
rules/regulations of the unit. Treatment period varies between 3-9 months as it is tailored

towards the individuals re

rehabilitation programme. The T


response and on the completion of a successful

before the patient’ s discharge from the Unit and it is part of the effort to

Twelve-Steps programme is commenced siix wee

long-term relapse prevention of

tenets of the Twelve-Steps of the Alcoholic Anonymous.

of patients discharged from the unit. It is based


The low-up period after the patient has been discharged from the DATER Unit

or 2 years and it is based on the individual attending the Drug Out-Patient Cli


monthly during the period. Researcl studies on the programme and on alcohol and

other drugs of pendence roblems continued to be carried out and have impacted

Jnit is


on the programme over the years.

The Unit, since its inception, has been able to help many individuals with alcohol and

other drugs of abuse problems. It is hoped that it will continue to offer treatment and

education to ameliorate the distress of the chemically dependent individuals and serve

as a nucleus of major research effort in the fight against drug abuse.

Admission Criteria to DATER Unit

Admission to the Unit is on a voluntary basis as patients are required to sign a contract

admission form before being allowed into the Unit.

Patient-must show no evidence of any psychotic symptoms.

Patient must sign the contract form after agreeing to abide by the rules and



Patients cannot be visited within the first two weeks of admission. Thereafter,


patient can be visited by’ relatives but not siblings or friends except if cleared

by the therapeutic team.

Therapeutic Team

The Therapeutic Team in the Unit consists of Doctors, Nurses, Psychologists, Social

Workers and Occupational Therapists. Each member of the team can engage patients

in discussions, interviews, counsel-ling, filling of forms and other various tests.

Part of the treatment includes investigations to exclude associated n

and problems drug abuse might have inflicted on the patient’s liver, lungs, blood and

Investigation associated medical problems her organs. These tests include LFT, HIV, Mantoux, Chest X-ray, full Heamatocrit other organs. and others Ward Programmne

The ward program includes Group therapy, Educational Sessions, Counselling Sessin tion

Library and Journal session, Patient’s story and Feedback, Twelve-Steps, Relaxari

Exercise, Spiritual Therapy, Mu-sic Session, Individual, Family and Marital Therapy


indicated, In/ out door games and other recreational activities

Rules and Regulations for DATER

The residential stay of patients is based on whether “he/she” can, abide with the rules

and regulations of the unit. Appropriate sanctions or learning experiences are meted

out for any rules contravened. Repeated rule contraventions result in mandator

discharge of the patient from the unit. Some of the rules include:

Non use of alcohol or other drugs inside or outside of the Unit. Patient must

also not solicit or trade in them.


Patient must not leave the Unit during his/her stay except on permission and

in company of a member of staff.

Patient must not be violent or hostile (physically or verbaily to themselves

or to any member of staff.

Only responsible adults are allowed as visitors to the Unit and even then

they have to be screened.


Privileges are given to patients once they have been earned.

Hot Seat

This is done for residents prior to discharge. The resident is put on “Hot Seat” and

other residents and the therapeutic team provide feedback on his behaviour in the

unit. In addition he is counselled on aspects of his life requiring change. The session

is recorded on cassettes and a copy given to him. He is thereafter observed for 2

weeks before leaving the unit.


This is usually two weeks after “Hot Seat” After Care

Post discharge visit takes place 13T Thursday of every month for two years after which

the patient is discharged  from follow up.

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