Drug Abuse in Public Secondary Schools: Causes, Effects and Intervention in Wajir East District, Wajir County, Kenya
Ahmed, Adan Mohamed.
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Numerous Secondary schools encounter day after day substance misuse linked happenings by learners. Substance misuse has caused learners' unrests, refusal to undertake various activities,sit in and at other instances complete damage of institutional assets and in other instances lead to death. This research sought to develop prevention and intervention strategies of curbing drug abuse in public secondary schools in Wajir East District, Wajir County. The objectives of the study were to determine the types of drugs commonly abused, to identify causes of drug abuse,to identify the effects of drug abuse, and to find out various ways and means used by stakeholders to control drug abuse in public secondary schools in Wajir East District. A descriptive survey design approach was used for this study. Purposive sampling technique was used to select all the sixteen public secondary schools together with the respondents who were the 16 head teachers, 16 heads of guiding and counseling departments, 64 class teachers and 64 class prefects in the sample schools. Data was collected using structured questionnaires as the research instruments which were administered by the researcher. Data collected was analyzed using statistical package for social scientists (SPSS) as an analytical tool and presented in form of tables. The study revealed that the class teachers, class prefects, guidance and counseling heads and head teachers reported that miraa (khat), alcohol, tobacco (cigarettes) and marijuana (bhang) were the most commonly abused drugs by the students in school. Other drugs abused by students included opiates (heroine), cocaine, amphetamines, nicotine, glue sniffing, mandrax, inhalants, methaqualone and cannabis.The study established that students abused drugs mainly due to peer pressure, lack of discipline and parental encouragement, lack of school policies on drug abuse and lack of parental guidance on drug abuse. Other reasons that led to drug abuse included social pressure from the media, frustrations due to poverty, low self-esteem,depression, anxiety, need to relax, overcome boredom, among others. The study indicated that effects of drug abuse include addiction, violence, high-risk sexual behavior, hospitalization for overdoses with some succumbing to drug related diseases, poor academic performance, school dropout, dependency on drugs, among others. To minimize and eliminate drug abuse, guest speakers were invited in the school to educate, guide and counsel the students on the effects of drug abuse. The schools used among other methods suspension, expulsion, official mention and rewards as modes of behavior control. The study recommended that in order to eradicate drug abuse in secondary schools the entire school community should be empowered to create a sense of ownership to every category of stakeholders- parents, teachers, alumni, sponsors and the wider society this will help the students avoid drugs and keep focus on the things that bring honour and success to them and the school. All staff in the school should give constant and continuous guidance to students on avoiding the trap of drugs. The head teachers should foster an open and loving environment for students and teachers to feel free to talk about drug abuse in the school environment.