• Kenyan universities should implement mandatory drug education programmes during orientation.
• Universities can hold workshops for parents to help them understand the challenges their children might face and how to provide support.
Most drug and substance abuse in universities begins in primary and secondary school. The problem only grows as students grow older.
In schools, we used to get intelligence from students, but nowadays many schools don’t have good student-teacher relationships, so teachers hardly know what is happening. The poor relationship leads to drug abuse and school arson.
Many teachers also paint fairy tales about universities being places of total freedom. So students go there with the mindset. So many of them are unable to control themselves when they meet addicts and drug drug peddlers.
Most of these drug dealers in universities are actually students themselves. They want to make an extra coin. They mostly go for naïve students from rural areas. These ones are quite easy to recruit.
Usually it begins with tobacco products including nicotine pouches, then the students graduate to hard drugs such as marijuana and heroin.
Kenyan universities should implement mandatory drug education programmes during orientation. These programmes should inform students about the risks associated with drug abuse, proper stress management techniques, and available support services.
They must also establish counselling centres. Trained professionals can provide students with psychological support, stress management strategies, and guidance on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Counselling can play a pivotal role in identifying early signs of substance abuse and providing intervention before the problem escalates.
Regular awareness campaigns on the dangers of drug abuse can be organized through various mediums, including posters, social media, and workshops. Engaging narratives and success stories of students who have overcome substance abuse can inspire others to seek help and make positive choices.
Engaging parents in the process is essential. Universities can hold workshops for parents to help them understand the challenges their children might face and how to provide support.
Universities should have clear and stringent policies against drug abuse. Consequences for those found using or distributing drugs should be outlined and consistently enforced. A transparent disciplinary process can act as a deterrent.
Creating spaces for recreational activities, sports, and wellness can provide students with healthier outlets for stress relief. Engaging in physical activities and social interactions can contribute to improved mental well-being and reduced drug dependency.