NACADA chairperson says drug abuse partly to blame for arson cases

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NACADA CEO Victor Okioma ( front right) and the Chairperson Julius Ayub Githiri addressing the press in Luanda Town
NACADA CEO Victor Okioma ( front right) and the Chairperson Julius Ayub Githiri addressing the press in Luanda Town

Drug and substance abuse among students has been cited as one reason that has led to the emergence of arson cases experienced in schools. National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) National Survey on Alcohol and Drug Abuse among high school students in Kenya has established that learning institutions are not drug-free environments.

Speaking in Luanda Town during a youth and vocational students’ forum, NACADA Chairperson Julius Ayub Githiri said the findings revealed that alcohol, miraa, Bhang and prescription drugs are the most abused substances among secondary school students in the country.

“Our attention has been drawn to the recent incidences of student unrests in the country that has so far witnessed burning of buildings and property in over 33 boarding schools since the beginning of the year. These school fire cases have had several negative consequences such as severe disruption of learning, and property loss. The survey NACADA has done partly links the cases to drug and substance abuse,” he said.

Githiri said from the survey, 2 out of 10 students in secondary schools in Kenya have used alcohol at least once in their lifetime, while 4 out of 10 are still consuming it.

He lamented that areas around schools are a major source for the drugs being used and called for a collective effort to mitigate the vice.

The chairperson revealed that the age of initiation to drugs and other substances abuse has gone down to 9 years. He blamed this on the parenting crisis the country is facing. “As parents, we have abdicated our responsibilities and there is a dire need for us to be equipped with basic skills of early prevention and detection of drug and substance abuse in our children,” he said.

NACADA has recommended for more structured parental involvement through Family-Based Prevention and Intervention Program to deal with issues of parenting crisis. “Through such mechanisms, we will be in a position to handle the menace of drug abuse in our children,” he said.