The average lowest age of onset of drugs and substance abuse among children is 4 years. This is according to a report presented on Wednesday by the National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) on the status of drugs and substance abuse among primary school pupils in Kenya. The research was done in partnership with the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA). Another damning finding is that 20.2% of primary school pupils have used drugs in their lifetime.
The median age of initiation to drug and substance abuse is 11 years, “This trend is a great concern and it’s detrimental to the future of our nation,” said a government official who was representing Interior CS Fred Matiang’i at the NACADA function. Furthermore, according to the report, 29% of pupils get drugs from shops or kiosks near their schools, 26% from bars near schools and 14 percent from school workers. Pupils who accompany parents to places where drugs can be found also are likely to use drugs. Parents have been urged to also be keen on what children watch, given that the entertainment scene glorifies the use of drugs.
The government has set up measures to tackle the issue of drug abuse in schools, including the integration of drug education component in the schools’ curriculum by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), with subjects such as Social Studies and Religious Education incorporating items in drug abuse. The Interior Ministry is also committed to finalizing the gazettement of the alcoholic drinks control guidelines to regulate advertisement and promotion of alcoholic drinks in Kenya.