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Test secondary sch. students for drugs–Reps

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By Abraham Adekunle

Protecting adolescents and tackling drug abuse among secondary school students.

In response to the escalating concern surrounding drug abuse among adolescents, the House of Representatives has embarked on a legislative initiative aimed at bolstering the welfare of secondary school students across Nigeria. Spearheaded by Rep. Moshood Oshun (APC-Lagos), the motion titled “On the Need to Introduce Mandatory Drug Test for Secondary School Students in Nigeria” underscores the critical importance of proactive measures to safeguard the well-being of youths and enhance their role in national development endeavours.

Presented during a plenary session in Abuja, the motion resonates with the pressing need to address the root causes of substance abuse among adolescents and chart a path towards a safer and healthier future for the nation’s youth. Oshun’s motion sheds light on the vulnerable nature of adolescence, a pivotal phase in human development characterized by heightened susceptibility to external influences such as peer pressure, socioeconomic disparities, and the allure of recreational drugs. Against this backdrop, the imperative for strategic government intervention to mitigate the risks associated with substance abuse and foster a conducive environment for the holistic development of youths becomes increasingly apparent.

Urgent call for random drug testing for students.

Central to the motion is the recognition of the alarming prevalence of substance abuse among secondary school students, with studies revealing that one in every four students aged between 15-19 years old has engaged in drug use. Notably, substances such as codeine-containing syrup and tramadol have emerged as the most commonly abused drugs, surpassing even cannabis in popularity among adolescents. This sobering reality underscores the urgent need for decisive action to stem the tide of substance abuse and mitigate its adverse effects on the physical, mental, and social well-being of young individuals.

Advocating for the adoption of Random Student Drug Testing (RSDT) programs, proponents emphasize the preventive nature of such initiatives. By conducting periodic and unannounced drug tests, RSDT aims to deter substance abuse among students and identify those in need of intervention and support. Importantly, the emphasis is on early intervention and assistance for affected individuals, rather than punitive measures. This holistic approach reflects a commitment to addressing the underlying factors driving drug abuse among adolescents and promoting a culture of responsibility and accountability within educational institutions.

House calls for collaborative drug testing efforts.

Recognizing the multifaceted nature of the drug abuse epidemic, the House has called for collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health to develop a comprehensive framework for the implementation of mandatory drug testing in secondary schools. This collaborative approach underscores the importance of synergizing efforts across different sectors to address the complex challenges posed by substance abuse effectively. In addition to legislative action, the House has mandated key government agencies, including the National Orientation Agency and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), to intensify awareness campaigns on substance abuse among secondary school students nationwide.

Through targeted outreach initiatives and educational programs, these agencies aim to raise awareness about the dangers of drug abuse and empower students to make informed decisions about their health and well-being. Furthermore, the House has directed its Committees on Basic Education and Services, as well as Healthcare Services, to oversee the implementation of mandatory drug testing and ensure compliance within a stipulated timeframe. This proactive oversight mechanism underscores the commitment of lawmakers to monitor the progress of the initiative and address any challenges or obstacles that may arise during its implementation.

Related Article: Military, NDLEA partner on drug abuse fight

Summarily, the adoption of mandatory drug testing for secondary school students represents a proactive step towards curbing the menace of substance abuse and safeguarding the future of the nation. By prioritizing preventive measures, early intervention, and comprehensive awareness campaigns, policymakers aim to create a conducive environment for the holistic development of Nigerian youths, empowering them to fulfill their potential and contribute meaningfully to national progress. Through collective action and sustained commitment, Nigeria can pave the way for a brighter and healthier future for generations to come.

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