Drug use in schools increased to 3,500 cases in the last year - Naisele

Drug use in schools increased to 3,500 cases in the last year - Naisele

By Karishma Kumari
Thursday 16/05/2024
Acting Chief Executive Officer for Substance Abuse Advisory Council Josua Naisele

Drug use in schools has increased in the past 3 years as in 2021 there were about 2,400 reported cases, in 2022, they were 2,800 cases and last year, it increased to 3,500 cases which is a worrying trend.

This was revealed by the Acting Chief Executive Officer for Substance Abuse Advisory Council Josua Naisele during the Talanoa session at the Fiji National University on Responding to Illicit Drugs and Substance Use Disorders in Fiji.

Naisele says some students do drugs because of their peers, some use it as a coping technique while some are victims or survivors of abuses, such as child abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and exploitation which allows them to share and lighten their burden.

When questioned on how can CSO’s and NGO’s assist in combating illicit drugs for both supply and consumption, Naisele says they want to have a better collection of data which they can target the schools and districts with high cases of drugs to conduct awareness and training.

He says in their Unit and throughout Fiji, they have counsellors who listen to people's problems and provide them with services not only on drugs but other issues that affect them.

The CEO says through the counselling process they have managed to collect some in-depth information of what the students go through including the kind of family, the parental upbringing and all other social issues that affect their intellectual, social and emotional growth.

Naisele says they also want to engage parents and community leaders to address this issue and find ways of how to stop students from taking legal drugs because, one of the things that they find out during their counselling is that when students do drugs, they start with legal drugs such as cigarette, yaqona and alcohol.

He says they also have training programs conducted every year to empower students with leadership, decision making and coping skills for them to know how to look after their mental health including awareness programs in schools and in communities.

The CEO further says that the Ministry at the moment has 4 divisional counsels and in the next financial year they want to fill the 9 districts to have counsellors in the large secondary and primary schools as there are many students in the urban schools.

Naisele says they also have a community program which they started with Serua provincial last month and hopes to roll it out to other provinces in Fiji because they want to empower the parents and the community on how well they can protect the students in the environment.

Click here for more stories from the Talanoa Session on Illicit Drugs and Substance Use Disorders in Fiji

Click here for stories on the Drugs Situation in Fiji

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