Abimbola Akinbogun & Iyanuoluwa Joseph
A public health practitioner, Molly Ogbodum had called for synergy between schools, parents and government to curb increasing rate of drug and substance abuse among secondary school students.
Ogbodum also recommended more sensitisation among the students to tackle the menace.
The public health practitioner was speaking on the recent investigation The Hope on secondary school students smoking cigarettes, shisha and marijuana; drinking alcohol and skushis.
Some of the young lads are seen at various pubs, parties, school events and several viral videos abusing drugs and substances.
According to Ogbodum, “The situation requires collective effort to tackle. I think the schools and other stakeholders can work together to create awareness, provide counseling services, involve parents and collaborate with other stakeholders to create a drug-free environment for children.
“On raising awareness, one of the most effective ways to prevent drug abuse among children and adolescents is to provide them with accurate and age-appropriate information about the risks associated with drug use.
“Which is why at SSDP, we support the notion of ‘Say Know to Drugs’ because once they have sufficient knowledge, it will help them make informed decisions.
“Schools can incorporate drug education programs into their curriculum, which can include workshops, guest speakers, and interactive activities”.
The Vice Chairman, Board of Directors for Students for Sensible Drug Policy International added that parents must engage their wards regularly, monitor their behaviour and befriend them to offer support when needed.
She further suggested that schools must have functional counselling and treatment centres.
“Schools can partner with healthcare professionals and community organizations to provide counseling and treatment services to affected students and such services should be discounted to the bearest minimum as this will encourage uptake of service.
“So the three A’s in Public Health approach; accessibility, affordability and availability should be considered.
She concluded that efforts must also be geared towards identifying the root causes of drug abuse among the students to determine the strategies to deploy.