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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Alcohol and Drug agency links schools arson to drugs

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The National Authority for the Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NACADA) has linked the current incidents of school indiscipline to drug abuse.

The new wave witnessed in the country since January has seen an upsurge in cases of arson, riots and attacks on teachers by students.

Already, Education CS Prof George Magoha has warned that students found culpable for such cases will not go unpunished and directed school heads not to admit students who have participated in the burning of schools.

“Learners will not commit crimes and walk scot-free. We shall ensure that these situations are neutralized before they escalate,” Magoha said.

The Education boss also proposed the re-introduction of corporal punishment, but pundits have warned against such a move, saying it has both short- and long-term effects to a student.

“They must be caned and we shall authorize teachers to punish them,” he said while speaking in Kisii County.

And now the Alcohol and Drugs agency NACADA is alarmed by the rising cases of school unrest. 

NACADA board Chairperson Prof. Mabel Imbuga that there have been heightened cases of indiscipline among Primary and Secondary school students and majority of the cases are attributed to drug abuse.

According to a mid-2018 survey by NACADA, 20.2 per cent of primary school pupils have used one drug or substance of abuse in their lifetime.

The survey further shows that 16.9 percent of primary schools are currently using at least one drug or substance abuse.

The survey also revealed that 3.2 percent of primary school pupils are currently using tobacco, 2.6 percent are currently using alcohol and 2.3 percent are currently using miraa/khat.

According to the survey, the common source for drugs is shops and bars around schools, friends and school workers.

“This data points to the need for urgent concerted effort aimed at preventing additional statistics among school-going children as one of the ways through which to curb this menace,” said Prof Imbuga.

NACADA is now calling on school’s Board of Management (BoMs) to enhance counseling programmes in schools 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.”

NACADA also recommends that the menace should be addressed through a comprehensive collaborative approach involving both state and non-state actors, adding that parents too should play their role, in nurturing their children positively.

“Children look up to their parents for guidance in all ways and when a parent’s judgment is affected by substance abuse, they can not only cause mental, physical, and emotional disturbance, but they can also severely alter or hamper their child’s development in all these stages,” said Prof Imbuga.

Parents and teachers’ unions have called for disbandment of boarding schools, as a way to address the menace.

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