Parents worried over students abusing drugs in estates

Parents worried over students abusing drugs in estates

Photo [Courtesy]

Many parents in Nairobi are concerned that their school-going children could be secretly doing drugs.

The concern has never been more real especially now that the schools are closed for the long holidays – and all the children are at home.

Reports indicate that the problem of drugs and substance abuse is becoming rampant among high school and university students living in Nairobi’s Eastlands area.

A past study done by the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) showed that 76.9 percent of parents interviewed said that children in their neighbourhoods were at risk of being initiated into drug and alcohol abuse early in their lives.

A parent who spoke to Wananchi Reporting said that raising a child in the capital has never been more difficult given the explosion of technology.

 Raising a child in Nairobi is becoming a big challenge, because our children mingle a lot with other children, and you never know what behaviour your child is secretly acquiring in school or in the estates,” a parent in Eastlands told Wananchi Reporting.

“I have a daughter who completed her high school studies here in Nairobi in 2019, and I can tell you that it has not been easy. There is this one time I found a roll of bhang inside her bedroom, and when I confronted her, she said it belonged to her friend. Of course it was hers,” said the parent who preferred to remain anonymous.

Henry Karanja, a mechanic in Kayole agrees that drug abuse is a real problem in the area – and it is getting worse by the minute.

“These children take shisha, bhang, illicit alcohol, cocaine, heroin and in some instances cough syrup,” he said, adding that the menace is facing mosts estate in Eastlands.

Reports indicate that some of the drug exchanges and sale happen in schools.

According to Mr. Kennedy Olang’o the Director Brownhill Secondary School in Kayole drugs and substance abuse often starts at an early age among most students.

“Most of the drug abuse cases are traced back to primary school. Some students begin abusing drugs in Standard Four,” said Mr. Olang’o.    

“There is a common belief that drugs and substance abuse is only common in day schools, but I can tell you that it is often worse in boarding schools, affecting both private and primary schools,” he says.

According to Mwalimu, the problem is common among students who come from troubled families.

“Some of the children come from families where both parents abuse drugs – and so it becomes easy for them to experiment with the same,” says Mr. Olang’o.

“Others come from single parent families… and most cases I have handled involve children who have grown up in single families. This is not to castigate single families, but this is the reality in most cases,” he adds.

A few parents who spoke to Wananchi Reporting said their busy work schedule was robbing them time to even know their children.

“Our children literally spend time with the house help and the TV. Often when I arrive at home they are asleep…so I only see them during weekends,” Francisca Musau told Wananchi Reporting.

“Truth is that most parents do not know their children or their friends,” she says.

A report by NACADA dubbed – “The Role of Parents in Prevention and Control of Alcohol and Drug Abuse among their Children in Nairobi” –  showed that 34.5 percent of the parents interviewed did not know their child/children’s friends.

That 12.4 percent of parents admitted that children under their care use alcohol or drugs, with 68.5 percent of the parents fearing that their own children may be at the risk of engaging in alcohol and drug abuse.

“So, we are trying to talk to our students all the time through peer to peer approach dubbed ‘Reform to Reform’. These are students who have reformed and would want to share their story with others who may be struggling with drugs,” says Mr. Olang’o.

Adding: “Apart from the program, we also carry out impromptu searches, we have CCTV cameras, but most importantly we talk to our students.”

Parents who spoke to Wananchi Reporting are calling for a concerted effort to help curb the menace before it destroys a generation.

They are calling for schools, parents, the government and even landlords to come together to fight the menace in estates.



Nairobi schools Nacada Drugs and substance abuse students.

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