DRUG ABUSE AMONG YOUTH IN SECONDARY DRUG ABUSE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN KENYA: DEVELOPING A PROGRAMME FOR PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION

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1 DRUG ABUSE AMONG YOUTH IN SECONDARY DRUG ABUSE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN KENYA: DEVELOPING A PROGRAMME FOR PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION By Redempta Maithya (PhD)

2 BACKGROUND TO THE PROBLEM Drugs, properly administered, have been a medical blessing, - relieving pain and control of diseases. According to the UNODC (2005) however, 5% of the total world population aged 15 to 64 years had used drugs at least once in the previous 12 months, an increase by 15 million from Despite eradication efforts in African countries, the region still remains a major supplier of some drugs such as cannabis, which is one of the most widely abused drugs here. A number of academic research and law enforcement reports indicate that, in the last few years, Kenya has had to deal with an increase in the drug abuse problem

3 For instance, according to a World Bank report (Muganda, 2005), the majority of the Kenyan youth including students are into theft, violent crime and drug abuse, and many are likely to suffer from HIV/AIDS.. This means that drug abuse among the youth in Kenya has become a serious problem that affects all the people in the country, and especially the youth, including students.

4 PROBLEM STATEMENT AND JUSTIFICATION Drug abuse amongst the youth in Kenya has become a serious problem affecting all the people of the country. Addiction leads many people, young people prominent amongst them, into downward spiral of hopelessness that in some cases ends fatally. Drug abuse is responsible for destruction of property in schools and soaring health care costs. It is a problem which affects us as parents, children, teachers, government officials, taxpayers and workers and Failure to solve it not only threatens the life of individuals, but also the economic and social development of the country.

5 OBJECTIVES The overall purpose of this study was to find out the current trend of drug abuse among students in secondary schools in Kenya and analyze the strategies used to address the problem. The ultimate aim was to propose a programme for intervention and prevention.

6 LITERATURE REVIEW A SOCIO-EDUCATIONAL PERSPECTIVE OF THE EFFECTS AND CAUSES OF DRUG ABUSE AMONG STUDENTS

7 Young people are viewed from the perspective of being individuals in the process of development and change (Gillis, 1996). During this period thay experiment with newly discovered aspects of their physical and emotional selves. As a result, they are likely to merely experiment with drugs whereas others are likely to become addicted

8 It is important to note that all drugs are dangerous and that the deliberate ingestion of drugs is wrong and harmful to the individual, the family, the community and society as a whole. For example, according to the World Drug Report (2005), tobacco causes four million deaths annually This figure is projected to rise to 1.6 million by the year 2025.

9 Concurrently, the age of those initiated to drug use is diminishing with large numbers of in-school and out-ofschool youth consuming drugs The factors associated with drug abuse, are many and varied, and include individual predispositions, family characteristics and complex social and environmental determinants (WHO, 2005).

10 A number of authors and researchers have shown that there are many contributing factors to drug abuse among young people including students. Drug abuse is caused by a combination of environmental, biological and psychological factors (Agrawal & Dick, 2008; Kuppin & Carpiano, 2006: 1768). At the school level, the most influential factors include the family, peer association, school performance and social class membership.

11 METHODOLOGY This study, being descriptive in nature, used both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Population and Sample The target population for this study was Form 3 and 4 students. Secondary schools were stratified into single gender schools for boys and girls, and mixed categories. A total of 9 schools were randomly selected out of 28 schools. The sample consisted of 360 students, 18 teachers and 9 PTA representatives.

12 Data collection and analysis To ensure validity of the findings, the data were triangulated using different forms of data collection methods: interviews, questionnaires and document analysis. Data were analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Quantitative data were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and Chi-square was used to test all the hypotheses. Qualitative data was evaluated and classified into logical thematic categories and coded on the basis of the research objectives.

13 RESEARCH FINDINGS The findings related to the extent of drug abuse among students showed that drug abuse is widespread. A type of school frequency distribution, which also revealed gender distribution frequencies, showed that, of those who acknowledged drug abuse, 34 (32.1%) attended mixed day schools, 24 (22.6%) boarding schools for girls, and 48 (45.3%) boarding schools for boys. A great percentage of drug abusers were aged between 20 and 22 years (58%) and in very few cases, between 14 and 16 years (25%) as shown in the table 1.

14 Table 1: Relationship between age and drug abuse as reported by students Have you ever used drugs other than for medical purposes? Age in Years Yes No Total (25%) 46 (75%) ( 29%) 191 (71%) (58%) 8 (42%) 19 Total No response 12 TOTAL 360 Chi-square test results c 2 = The probability (chi-sq = 8.23) < 0.05, with df = 1 and at the 5% level of significance, indicates significant dependency between age and drug abuse.

15 Causes of drug abuse among students The most commonly perceived reasons for drug abuse by students were: Curiosity: 210 (19.4%) Need for acceptance by friends: 185 (17.1%), Ignorance on dangers of drug abuse: 173 (16.0%) Easy availability of drugs: 127 (11.7%) Low cost of drugs: 105 (9.8%) Excessive pocket money: 101 (9.3%) To increase intelligence: 94 (8.7%) Lack of role models (teachers and parents) plus others: 86 (8.0%)

16 Teachers cited the two main reasons for drug abuse as the breakdown of family units and excessive pocket money.. Interviews with deputy head teachers and parents revealed additional reasons as peer pressure, legalisation of some drugs (e.g. alcohol and cigarettes), and overloaded curriculum, lack of adequate guidance and counselling services, as well as unqualified school counsellors among others. A strong relationship was established between drug abuse and a family member using/abusing drug, and also the easy availability of drugs as summarised in the next table

17 Relationship between using/not using drugs and having a family member using drugs Do you have a family member who takes drugs? Have you ever used drugs other than for medicinal purposes? Yes No TOTAL Yes 52 (45.8%) 67 (54.2%) 119 (100%) No 51 (23.3%) 175 (76.7%) 226 (100%) Total 103 (28.1%) 103 (28.1%) 345 (100%) No Response 15 TOTAL 360 Chi-square test results c 2 = The probability (chi-sq = 16.7) < which is < (With df = 1 and at 5% level of significance). Significant difference in the ratio of student-drug abuse to nonabuse in families where drugs are abused or not abused was thus established.

18 Responses on whether availability of drugs influences drug abuse A chi-square test established that the relationship between drug abuse and easy accessibility of drugs was statistically significant. The computed c 2 value of was greater than the tabulated value of 3.84 on the 5% level of significance and with 1 degree of freedom. Of 360 students, 348 responded. Findings also showed that 71 (38%) of the respondents were drug abusers who said that drugs are easy to get. This conclusion is aptly captured in the study s theoretical framework which shows that the easy availability of drugs is considered a risk factor for drug abuse.

19 Drugs commonly abused by students Through questionnaires and interviews, students, teachers and parents cited commonly abused drugs as: alcohol, khat, tobacco, cannabis and sleeping pills. All these drugs were said to be easily available. The main sources of these drugs by students were as follows: Slums (low socioeconomic areas) around the school:184 (26%) Kiosks/Shops: 143 (20.3%) Touts:89 (12.7%) Watchmen:61 (8.8%) Shoe Menders (cobblers), 47 (6.7%) Cooks: 40 (5.7%).

20 Perceived effects of drug abuse among students Responses from students showed they were aware of the dangers of drug abuse, which were cited as: lack of concentration on studies missing classes conflict with teachers poor health failure to do assignments rejection by friends. However, students are only concerned with the short-term effects of drug abuse and not the long-term effects.

21 Strategies used to address drug abuse in schools Commonly used methods for dealing with drug abuse in schools include: guidance and counselling summoning parents/guardians to school suspension expulsion heavy punishment close monitoring and vetting of students visitors talks during assembly impromptu inspections. The general perception of the teachers indicates that the methods used are wanting and only two (11.1%) said the methods are very effective.

22 Challenges facing schools N=18 Problems encountered in dealing with drug abuse Responses Parents do not support school administration Some teachers provide students with drugs Yes No No response Count (%) Count (%) Count (%) Some teachers take drugs Teachers do not discourage drug taking Lack of adequate knowledge to address drug issues Time schedules are not flexible

23 Teachers perception of the biggest challenge faced in addressing drug abuse is a lack of adequate knowledge on how to deal with it (72.2%). This is an indication that teachers feel inadequate to address the vice in schools. Majority of school counsellors and teachers are not trained in approaches to addressing drug abuse. Majority have only attended workshops lasting a few days, not full training

24 LESSONS LEARNT Drug abuse among students is widespread and spells danger not only for the youth who abuse the drugs, but also for the wellbeing of the nation. Students abuse drugs regardless of the type of school they attend, although the tendency to do so is higher in boys schools as compared to mixed day and girls schools. The greatest proportion of drug abusers is aged 20 to 22 years and the smallest proportion between 14 and 16 years. A variety of drugs are abused by students with the most common being alcohol, tobacco, khat and cannabis, all of which are easily available or locally produced. The main sources of drugs are low socio-economic areas (slum areas), small shops, school workers and public transport. Teachers perceive the strategies used to address drug abuse as ineffective and thus they need modification to ensure effectiveness.

25 POLICY IMPLICATIONS Training for Counsellors Most teachers and school counselors feel ill-equipped to address drug abuse in schools. The MOE should mount intensive training for all school counselors to give them relevant skills.

26 School Policy Findings revealed that drug abuse is common among students, and that there is no legal policy on how to handle students who abuse drugs on school property. In this regard, a uniform policy by MOE for all schools is not only necessary but also urgent to guard against disparities in addressing drug abuse in schools. This policy would be an important component of a comprehensive drug preventive strategy for youth in schools.

27 Parenting Programmes Since some parents may lack exposure on issues related to drug abuse, the MOE and NACADA should take the lead in organizing parenting programmes, and continuously making information available on how to address drug abuse among their children. Government Interventions Government interventions should target both low and high-risk families. As many parents as possible should be included in these programmes and not only those involved in school management affairs such as those in the Board of Governors (BOG) or Parent- Teacher Associations (PTA).

28 Policy Making Agenda The issue of drug abuse among the youth should remain on the agendas of policy makers in the country, especially elected leaders, so as to maintain long-term commitment to solving the drug problem. This could include advocacy, creating awareness, and meet-the-people campaigns.

29 RESEARCH GAPS It is suggested that research be carried out to address the following: More investigations are needed on the methods used to address drug abuse in schools in various parts of Kenya because the methods used to address the problem may differ according to different circumstances. Given guidance and counseling is emphasized as a method of addressing drug abuse in schools, its effectiveness in addressing the problem should be investigated. Such studies would contribute towards strengthening guidance and counseling in schools. Research is needed to ascertain the relationship between school policy and drug abuse among students.

30 Thank You For Your Time!!!

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