A renowned anti-drug activist has raised his concerns about the recent blanket order from Education Cabinet Secretary Professor George Magoha that stated a mandatory drug testing in schools.
Reachout Centre Trust Executive Director Taib Abdulrahman says though the organisation is not opposed to the move but drug testing in school is not a solution to drug use among pupils in both primary and secondary schools.
Taib says that drug testing should be part of various approaches and interventions that will deter pupils from using drugs.
He says drug testing as pushed by the Ministry of education is not a solution to the drug use problem among pupils but instead various steps including counseling, education and engagement forums that will involve pupils who will share their feelings, knowledge and even fears about drugs.
“This will create a close engagement between the pupils and counselors or their teachers, a situation that will create open forum for the pupils to clearly understand the effects of drug use and deter from indulging in the menace,” Noted Mr Taib.
He added that testing is not a stand-alone intervention and an amicable solution to drug use among students.
“Before making such a blanket move kindly consider engaging other organisations working on harm reduction so that we all have our input to protect our children,” He added.
Speaking in Mombasa on Monday, the anti-drug czar said that working in unison towards reducing the effects of drugs and HIV and AIDS will be the only solution to the problem.
Taib said since most of students in schools are underage, they have to be taken through an awareness process while at the same time protecting their self-esteem and dignity.
He said drug awareness campaign targeting students in school can be very effective in fighting drug use among school going children.
Recently, Education Cabinet Secretary Professor George Magoha said following unending incidents where secondary schools are being burnt, there is urgent need for students to go through a mandatory drug testing while entering their schools.
However, the National Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) is also opposing the move saying drug testing should be one of a comprehensive approach in deterring students from using drugs.
“Drug testing should be part of a comprehensive approach in taming drug use among students in schools. It is not a stand-alone intervention but should be within a continuum of services designed in the management of drug abuse and public safety,” Said NACADA CEO Mr Victor Okioma.