Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Staggering cases of drugs in schools in 2023

In 2023, there were 3,500 cases (1.75 percent) of students having found to have used drugs in school whereas in 2022, 2,700 cases (1.5 percent) were reported.

This was highlighted by the Assistant Minister for Education Iliesa Vanawalu in Parliament, last week, where he said though the percentage of students reported to be using is small, a gradual increase in three years is a concern.

Vanawalu said this use of drugs and abuse amongst our children continue to be a challenge in our country and is multifaceted and needs to be addressed which would require every Fijian to be involved.

According to the Substances Abuse and Advisory Council, Vanawalu said students use drugs due to peer pressure while some observe drugs being used in their families, and communities and out of curiosity decide to experiment.

He said the fact is, that students use drugs as a coping technique to mask the emotional pains they endure in their lives, such as abuse, neglect, and exploitation – while some students are being exploited by adults to peddle drugs for petty cash.

The effect of this is that the use of drugs by students contributes to many of the social ills, school dropout, mental health issues, economic disempowerment, rise in petty crimes, increase in unplanned pregnancies, and the general decays in the morale and social fabric of our society today.

He said that the Ministry of Education is working closely with the Ministry of Home Affairs, in the development of Fiji’s National Narcotics Strategy.

The Assistant Minister said that the Ministry has also been working with sectors to draft the Volatile Substance Abuse Act 2024.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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