National Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) has attributed school unrests being witnessed in the secondary schools in the country to abuse of drugs among students.
Nacada top officials led by national chairman Lt Col (Rtd) Julius Ayub Githiri (pictured) and Chief Executive Officer Victor Kioma said this when they toured Luanda in Vihiga county as part of their efforts to engage with different groups and communities at the grassroots to address drug and substance abuse.
Githiri said Nacada has conducted a national survey on alcohol and drug abuse among secondary school students in Kenya to establish the extent of the problem. The survey established that the institutions are not drug- free environments, with areas around schools being sources of narcotics.
“We should all be worried that 23.4 per cent or 508,132 of secondary school students have used alcohol at least once in their lifetime. Out of these, almost four per cent or more 80,000 of our students are currently using alcohol,” he said.
From the study, Nacada established that among the secondary school students, alcohol, khat/miraa and prescription drugs are the most abused substances. Worse, the age of initiation to drugs and alcohol has gone down to just nine years.
Nacada has been monitoring the student unrest in the schools that has so far witnessed burning of buildings and property in over 40 boarding schools since the beginning of the year. The incidents have led to disruption of learning and loss of property.
“In Kenya today, we are facing a parenting crisis. When it comes to drug abuse, this factor alone plays a significant role in determining the use and abuse of drugs and other substances by the youth,” said Githiri.
He urged parents to remember that prevention of drugs and substance use and abuse is always better than cure. An early indicator is a family member or friend using alcohol or other drugs. “Most parents have abdicated their responsibilities as parents and there is urgent need for them to be equipped with basic skills of early prevention and detection of drugs,” he added.
Nacada recommends more structured parental involvement through Family-Based Prevention Intervention Programme to help stem the parenting crisis in the society through faith-based and other organised institutions.
Githiri said Nacada will use youths all over the country to crusade for fight against drug abuse.