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Lawmakers want secondary school students tested for drugs

The lawmakers want to secure the students' wellbeing and enhance their contributions to national development.

Members of the House of Representatives [NASS]

This followed the adoption of a motion 'On need to Introduce Mandatory Drug Test for Secondary School Students in Nigeria,' by Rep. Moshood Oshun (APC-Lagos) at plenary in Abuja on Thursday

Presenting the motion, Oshun said the adolescent age remained a critical period in human development.

He said individuals at this age were usually influenced by factors such as experimental curiosity, peer pressure, poor socio-economic conditions at home and the need for extra energy for daily activities.

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He said youths are critical stakeholders in fostering socio-economic development in the country, adding that their vulnerability to societal vices necessitates strategic government intervention.

This he said was to secure their wellbeing and enhance their contributions to national development. He expressed concern over substance abuse by young people, which he said was fast becoming a global public health concern.

"According to studies there is a notable prevalence of drug and substance abuse across secondary schools in Nigeria, one in every four students aged between 15-19 years abused substances," he said.

This, he said, included codeine-containing syrup and tramadol topped the list of drugs, ranking higher than cannabis.

"Random Student Drug Testing (RSDT) is a drug prevention programme whereby students are tested for recent use of illegal substances."

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He said this was aimed at deterring drug use and identifying students who needed help with staying drug-free. He said a mandatory routine and random drug testing for students was for preventive, not punitive purposes, and early intervention.

He said it was crucial for achieving success in tackling the menace of substance abuse in the country.

Adopting the motion, the House urged the National Orientation Agency and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to increase awareness campaign on substance abuse to secondary school students nationwide.

The House also mandated its Committees on Basic Education and Services and Healthcare Services to ensure compliance and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

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