Influencing students involvement in drug abuse in secondary schools in Meru South and Meru East districts, Eastern Kenya
The study was carried out in Meru East and Meru South District of Eastern Province of Kenya. Forty-eight (48) schools in the districts were selected for the study using the stratified random sampling technique. One of the schools was used for piloting the instrument. A total of four hundred and seventy seven (477) students were incorporated into the study sample. The non-parametric Chi-square, particularly the cross-breaks was used to test the hypotheses of this study. The null and the alternative hypotheses were rejected and accepted respectively at alpha 0.05. The results revealed that, statistical significant relationships existed between age, gender, drug availability, family affluence, per influence and some social psychological variables such as pleasure, tension, and curiosity, and drug abuse. All the relationships were established at P0.05, with varying, contingency coefficients. The results confirmed as hypothesized that multifaceted factors such as peer influence, availability of drugs, age, gender e.t.c are responsible for students' indulgence in the deviant behaviour of drug taking. The findings show that, drug abuse among adolescents in secondary schools in the study area in an existing phenomenon that must be addressed seriously. It must be dealt with from as many perspectives as possible, all directed at a common goal, eradicating drug abuse by the youth. Recommendations which include giving good counsel to students on the dangers of drug abuse and how to handle their stresses, the need to choose good friends, banning drug trafficking e.t.c. are made with a view that they will benefit teachers, parents, administrators and policy makers, in their attempts to understand the reasons behind the malpractice and lay strategies to combat it. The problem can only be tackled effectively through concerted efforts of all the groups dealing with the youth at various levels. Good counseling and understanding the youth will help eliminate the malpractice. Additional research is needed to determine the relationship between drug abuse and academic performance of students. This is because education is the key to development and youth should be helped to obtain healthy education without major hinderances like school dropouts, violence in schools resulting in carnage like burning of school property and loss of lives e.t.c all because of indulgence in drug taking behaviour. For the fight against the drug abuse behaviour in the area, it is populations. This will enable comparison concerning the extent and nature of abuse so as to establish the prevention programs to eradicate this malpractice.