NACADA CEO Exposes How Primary School Kids Sneak Prescription Drugs & Abuse Them

School children watching a TV programme in a classroom in November 2021.
School children watching a TV programme in a classroom in November 2021.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Authority for Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) Victor Okioma revealed that primary school pupils were the biggest traffickers of prescription drugs.

Speaking on Wednesday, January 1, Okioma stated that abuse of prescription drugs in schools was one of the biggest problems faced by schools in Kenya despite the restrictions in place.

Okioma further stated that it was alarming that primary school pupils had easier access to drugs compared to high school students.

A file image of various types of drugs.
A file image of various types of drugs.

“The risk is even bigger to primary school children because they have fewer restrictions as compared to high school students especially because of free movement in and out of the schools,’’ Okioma stated.

Revealing how the pupils sneaked the drugs into the institutions, Okioma explained that they disguised the drugs as medication when reporting to school.

“No one would suspect that they are drugs because they are meant for medication but they are actually substances of abuse,” The CEO noted.

In addition, he noted that there were shops next to the institutions that aided the entry of drugs into the schools by claiming to sell food to the students while quietly selling the drugs.

“We also have evidence that the kiosks outside schools are sources of these drugs, the students pretend to buy bread and get the drugs,” the CEO explained.

Owing to the situation of the relationship between parents and the students, the NACADA CEO cautioned parents against leaving medication unattended or storing them where the children could easily access them.

He further blamed pharmacies for the increase in the misuse of prescription drugs in school cautioning that the government had put in place plans to keep in check rogue pharmacists. 

“We have spoken to the Pharmacy and Poisons Board who regulate pharmacists and we agreed that there is a problem that needs to be fixed,” Okioma stated.

In February 2021, NACADA conducted a national survey that revealed a worryingly rising trend of drug abuse among school-going children. 

In an attempt to reduce drug abuse among students in January 2021, the former education Cabinet Secretary warned that the government would introduce blood testing and canning in schools. 

"We will soon start random visits to schools to conduct blood tests and the students who will test positive will be expelled," Magoha announced. 

Students head for a half-term break in 2019
John Njoroge
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