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Ghanaian school children take to drugs

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More than a third (36.4 per cent) of students in junior and senior high schools in the country have experimented with different substances, a report by the Consultative Committee to Combat Drug Menace in Schools has found.

The report says the outcome is an indication of a higher risk of substance abuse in first and second-cycle schools.

The report further establishes that more than half (59.9 per cent) of boys tend to use cigarettes, while 54.1 per cent use cannabis and 36 per cent use alcohol.

In the case of girls, it says 72.7 per cent use pain relievers, while 34.3 per cent use ‘shisha’ (a flavoured Arabian tobacco smoked in a hookah) and 32.1 per cent alcohol.

“About 88.6 per cent of students that we have sampled undergo stress in our schools and drugs are the major influences of the stress,” the Chairman of the committee, Mr Bright Appiah, said when he presented the report to the Minister designate for the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, in Accra yesterday.

Schools

The committee, set up under the directive of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, conducted the study in 176 basic and second-cycle schools over a one-year period.

The terms of reference of the committee, inaugurated by Mr Dery, on behalf of the President, on Tuesday, September 24, 2019, were to identify the sources and causes of increase in drug use in schools in the country and recommend to the President proposals to be discussed with stakeholders, including religious bodies, educational facilities and civil society organisations (CSOs). 

Mr Appiah, who is also the Executive Director of the Child Rights International, a child-friendly non-governmental organisation, said the 11-member committee decided to use different methodologies of securing information in order to enrich the report.

The committee also had engagements with about 10 psychiatrists, 138 heads of schools and 72 guidance and counselling units of the various schools, Mr Appiah said.

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