Born in Lagos, Nigeria, he was home schooled until the age of seventeen. He read psychology as an undergraduate at the University of Lagos (UNILAG). On the recommendation of his cousin Onuegbu E. Achalu, he went to the United States to attend Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (SIUC) where he studied guidance and educational psychology. He was awarded his Ph.D. in 1991 based on a study of counseling [dual diagnosis] patients. His cousins Onuegbu and Dorothy had both studied under David F. Duncan at SIUC and had introduced him to Duncan's self medication hypothesis, which he made the basis of his own research .
He moved to London, U.K. after completing his studies in the U.S.. He has taught at London Guildhall University, University of London, and Imperial College London. He is co-founder with Prashant Phillips of the Centre for Duncanian Studies, which promotes research founded in Duncan's self-medication hypothesis and his concept of harm reduction.
- Afulezi, U. N., and Afulezi, I. O. (2000). African (Igbo) Scholarship: 1945-1999. Lanham. MD: University Press of America. http://books.google.com/books?id=jgR1q0XTfD0C&lpg=PA1&ots=9HqwYuXvUF&dq
- Achalu, E. D. (november 28, 2005). The self-medication hypothesis: A review of the two major theories and the research evidence. Addiction Info. http://www.addictioninfo.org/authors/138/E.D.-Achalu
- Becker, D. (march 29, 2009). A century of lies. The Drug Truth Network - Radio Station KPFT. http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/node/2356
- Mental wards fight drug problem. BBC News, December 11, 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/3311371.stm