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How schools can help learners avoid drug abuse trap

By , People Daily Digital
Friday, December 24th, 2021 03:00 | 2 mins read
Drug abuse. Photo/Courtesy

Simon Mwangi 

Within a very short time, students will be trooping back to school after a two-week holiday that had been preceded by instances of unprecedented cases of unrest. 

With Covid-19 affecting the national school calendar, students have had to contend with spending longer periods in school than at home.

In view of this, young people will spend more hours in the school environment around teachers than at home with their parents, making the school’s social environment a key factor influencing their development.

Research has shown that a positive relationship with the school system, which creates a greater sense of community, attachment, and performance, is associated with reduced potential for drug abuse.

In August 2020 the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) launched a Teachers’ Guide to Alcohol and Drug Use Prevention. 

This was as a result of a plethora of research findings revealing that teachers were ill equipped to handle incidents of alcohol and drug use in schools.

The findings have also revealed that teachers ordinarily resort to methods that are not linked to positive outcomes such as the use of unqualified people to sensitise students on the dangers of alcohol and drug use. 

When inviting motivational speakers, you must ensure their competence and vet their content to ensure it is aligned to best practice.

As a teacher, the first step towards helping young people stay away or stop substance abuse is ensuring a strong bond with learners which is characterised by listening with empathy and care.

As a teacher you are an important source of information to learners who have a lot of questions about alcohol and drug use.

You can help by correcting common misconceptions that young people have about alcohol and other drugs.

One of the most widely held misconceptions is the idea that it is common or normal to use drugs, when in fact the vast majority of young people have never tried substance abuse.

Remember that your attitude towards and relationship with students can make a huge difference in the fight against substance abuse.

Modelling appropriate behaviour regarding use of alcohol and drugs in school and during events is part of the action you can take. 

In this whole process, being a good listener will give you an opportunity to understand the students’ viewpoints about the subject while also being sympathetic to their opinions.

The availability of alcohol at school events may interfere with drug education and prevention efforts.

Be considerate of your school’s alcohol and substance use and abuse policy and check if it is in line with the recently launched National Guidelines for Alcohol & Substance Use Prevention & Management in Basic Education Institutions and the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations for alcohol-free events where children are present.

When talking to young people about drug use, it is most useful to openly communicate the facts, without lecturing or exaggerating.

Teachers self-efficacy is one of the urgent factors to determine the success of drug abuse prevention in school because it has related to teachers belief about their capabilities to organise and execute this matter.

At the classroom level, you need to set clear rules and boundaries which you should enforce fairly and consistently.

You also need to praise good behaviour and achievements while at the same time encouraging learner participation in and out of the classroom. — The writer is the manager, Corporate Communications, NACADA —[email protected]

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