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Home / Health & Science

Are we doing enough to help our children avoid drugs?

HEALTH & SCIENCEBy NELSON GUGA | Mon,Aug 10 2015 07:45:49 EAT
By NELSON GUGA | Mon,Aug 10 2015 07:45:49 EAT

Drug and substance abuse among the youth is both a national and global problem. Research has shown that 92 per cent of seniors in the United States indulge in alcohol before they graduate from high school.

33 per cent of this population are heavy drinkers. The recent involvement of high school students in drug abuse and public sex inside a hired bus in Kenya buttresses the notion that juvenile delinquency is on the rise. This begs the question, are we doing enough to help our children overcome this challenge?

In 2001, the National Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) was formed to help mitigate the drug problem in Kenya. Nacada was charged with the responsibility of co-ordinating activities of both individuals and organisations in the campaign against drug abuse.

Through public education and developing necessary action plans to reduce the problem, Nacada's role was clearly cut out. However, it's responsibility seemed to have hit a dead end due to increasing cases of drug abuse.

The emergence of powerful drug cartels in Kenya has frustrated efforts by this organisation to execute its mandate. Studies reveal that the cartels have formed a complex syndicate that has made it difficult for Nacada to mitigate this problem. Nairobi has been touted as an important transit point for drugs.

People between 16 and 30 years form an important market for drug abuse in Kenya. This implies that a student in Form Two in Kenya is likely to have been introduced to drugs. Recent studies showed that 50 per cent of students have taken drugs in Kenya.

This figure has increased tremendously due to increase in availability of drugs and weak instruments of mitigation.

Teachers and parents share the responsibility of ensuring that students live a drug free life while they are at school and during holidays.

However, during holidays, some parents fail to offer the much needed support to their children so that they can overcome peer pressure, the major cause of drug abuse.

While at home, students interact with a wide range of people. It is during such interactions that they meet drug peddlers and through influence, they become victims of drug abuse. Through social media and other Internet sites, students have access to pornographic literature and whatnot. Lack of monitoring system on the part of parents has created conduits for students to explore a dark world.

Apart from teaching abstract Math, English and making Christian Religious Education optional in a sinful world, schools are silent on values. They are silent because we are in a country where values do not matter. Connected thieves steal without much ado. Cases in point are the recent Mumias Sugar Company and Kenya Airways scams. National shames! People rob, maim and kill each other yet we have a Government and these events suggest that the latter is asleep.

Article 10 of the Constitution (which envisages protection of national values) has lost its relevance. The Judiciary has failed to curtail the dreadful surge in corruption and moral decline in this country. Deviant behaviour blossoms in a society without a high value system. Against this backdrop, the anti-social behaviour that students exhibited on the bus when they broke for the holidays ceases to be a surprise but an expectation.

To end these vices, the President must take a proactive approach to end, or at least reduce corruption, which has allowed drug abuse to continue unabated.

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