NACADA links school unrest to drug abuse among students

NACADA links school unrest to drug abuse among students

The National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) has linked the recent wave school unrest to drug abuse among students.

A survey by NACADA indicates that learners in both primary and secondary schools are abusing drugs including alcohol, tobacco and miraa.

According to the authority, 16.9% of primary school pupils are currently using at least one drug
or substance of abuse.

“Just three weeks after the re-opening of schools following their closure after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country in March last year, there have been heightened cases of indiscipline among Primary and Secondary school students and majority of these cases are attributed to drug abuse,” said NACADA Board Chairperson Prof. Mabel Imbuga in a press statement.

“In a national survey carried out in June 2018 on the “Status of Drugs and Substance Abuse among Primary School Pupils in Kenya”, it was found that 20.2% of primary school pupils have ever used at least one drug or substance of abuse in their lifetime. The survey shows 16.9% of primary school pupils are currently using at least one drug or substance of abuse. It further reveals that 3.2% of primary school pupils are currently using tobacco, 2.6% are currently using alcohol and 2.3% are currently using miraa/ muguka.”

The common sources of drugs and substance of abuse mentioned by students include kiosks or shops near school (28.6%); bar near school (25.7%); friends (19.3%); bought from other students (13.7%); and school workers (13.6%).

NACADA is now calling on schools to partner with them in rolling out programs to raise awareness levels on the dangers of drug abuse and a reduction in drug-related disciplinary cases.

“We call upon School’s Board of Management (BoMs) to enhance efforts towards ensuring that their institution establish Guidance and Counselling departments or have Chaplains that can address issues affecting learners and therefore, deter their initiation into drug use.

In the meantime, we invite affected schools, churches and other institutions to liaise with us through our Regional Offices for support and inclusion into our school-based programs. We are ready to work with and support any institutions requiring support in alcohol and drug abuse prevention and treatment,” says Prof. Imbuga.

A series of incidents involving torcing of dormitories and assault of teachers by students has been reported in various learning institutions following the reopening of schools.

This has seen security agencies in the country led by Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) come out to warn of stern action on learners involved in the criminal acts.