Parents and guardians have been blamed for the surging use of drugs and alcohol among teenagers across the country.
During the 3rd edition of the Amani Clubs Kenya national debate championship, the teenagers said it is unfortunate that some parents are the ones driving their children into drinking and abusing drugs.
“You come home and there is a bar or an alcoholic drink either in the cabinet or fridge. The same person asking you not to drink is the same person sending you to the kitchen to bring them a glass to pour their whisky,” Talia Jessica one of the debaters said.
Talia was debating on effects of alcoholism and drug abuse among teenagers which is one of the six thematic areas during the 3-day debate.
“To me, our parents are preaching water and drinking wine, some come home late reeking of alcohol,” she said.
Talia said this has in the end not only contibuted to abseteeism but also school drop out as a result of poor performance.
Her sentiments were echoed by Noel Machanji who said parents also take them through gender based violence especially in dysfunctional families.
“Parents fight amongst themselves and when that is not enough they turn to us hurling insults and even beating us, most teens turn to drugs to numb the pain,” she said.
She said although many teens suffer silently, the truth is that many are exposed to alcoholism and drug abuse by their parents or guardians.
“Some make us their smoking buddies and will go to an extend of making passes on us,” she said.
The 3rd edition of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission steered debate is themed ‘Unity in Diversity’ and seeks to address 6 tracks among which drug and substance abuse is among.
Other thematic areas are unregulated social media as a breeding ground for moral decadence, form one placement role in fostering national cohesion, 8-4-4 versus CBC system, climate change and the role of youth leadership in the country and finally the role of religious leaders in inculcating morals in the country.
Speaking during the opening ceremony NCI’s Deputy Director Mr Kilian Nyambu said peace champions can only be nurtured at a young age and the young people’s voices needs to be heard so that they don’t feel marginalised or excluded from decision making.
Gichuhi Deputy Director Ministry of Education Dr Kennedy Gichuhi said the Amani Clubs is working in bringing up a future generation with values and he hope to see all principals in Kenya establish Amani clubs in their respective schools.
“We want a nation with character and good morals which we are seeing among the members of Amani clubs. Having brought together 13 counties in itself is cohesion and teaching the youth peaceful co-existence and conflict resolution,” he said.
The 3-day debate is being running concurrently at St Germaine and St Anneraite Gataka girls’ schools is being presented in Swahili, English and French.
The debate comes even as an estimated seven million adolescents missed classes for three months consecutively in 2019/2020 due to drug and alcohol abuse.
The Kenya Adolescent Health Survey 2019/2020 released by Ministry of Health last week revealed that in the same period, at least 2 million adolescents aged between 15 and 19 were found to be smoking and abusing alcohol.
The survey indicated that about 348,000, representing 3 per cent of the adolescent population, smoked cigarettes. The same number was found to have abused marijuana. About 1 million abused alcohols, estimated at 9 per cent in the period under review.
However, on a positive note, about 11 million and 10 million attended classes and were enrolled in school respectively.