20 June 2019

Kenya: Revealed - How Four-Year-Olds Are Hooked to Drugs

Photo: ONU
(file photo).

National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) has revealed that school children as young as four years old abuse drugs.

At the same time, Nyamira, Garissa, Makueni, Isiolo and Murang'a counties have found to be the most affected by drug and substance abuse by primary school pupils while Nairobi, Uasin Gishu and Narok are the least affected.

These revelations have been made in a report titled Status of Drug and Substance Abuse among Primary School Pupils in Kenya, which wasreleased on Wednesday.

The survey was conducted among 3307 pupils from 177 primary schools across 25 counties in the country in conjunction with the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA).

DRUGS ABUSED

The report also established that the average median age of onset of at least one drug or substance of abuse was 11 years while the lowest reported age of onset to drug and substances of abuse was 4 years.

According to the report, at least 17% of pupils in primary schools are using one drug or substance of abuse.

Of the 17%, 7.2% were currently using prescription drugs; 3.2% were using tobacco, 2.6% were using alcohol, 2.3% miraa/muguka, 1.2% were using inhalants and 1.2% heroin.

Tobacco (41.9 per cent), prescription drugs (27.8 %), alcohol (25.9 %) and miraa (23.1%) were mentioned as the most available abused drugs and substances of abuse.

Data from the survey shows that 20.2 % of primary school pupils have used at least one drug or substance of abuse in their lifetime.

SOURCES OF DRUGS

At least 10.4 % of the pupils have ever used prescription drugs in their lifetime and 7.2 % have tried alcohol.

The report also indicates that drugs and substances of abuse were more likely to be used during school holidays (30.0%) on their way home from school (22.0%), during the weekends (21.0%) and during the inter school competition (20.0%).

When the pupils were asked to name possible sources where they can access the drugs and substance of abuse, kiosks or shops near the school came first with (28.6%). Others were bars near schools (25.7%), friends (19.3%), other pupils (13.7%) and school workers (13.6%).

The report also associated drug and substance abuse among primary school pupils with class repetition and decline in academic performance.

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