The problem of drug dependency amongst our youth is one that can no longer be ignored. The rate of addiction amongst our school going children is increasing and we are dealing with the effects like violence, school drop outs, erratic behavior associated with addicts, mental disorders and in worst case scenario death. Whereas it is okay to treat the symptoms, we must tackle the root cause by attempting to ask and answer the Why’s, What’s and Who’s of this drug problem and seek a solution before it spirals.

Parents will always look at their children as sweet little angels who can do no harm. They believe that just because they have cautioned their children never to smoke, drink or take drugs, their children will obey and stay away from the drugs. In fact, the parent is usually the last one to know when their child gets addicted. Even when they can see the signs, they prefer to live in denial, or even blame it on one of their friends, schools and whoever can take the blame but themselves. However, burying our heads in the sand is not the solution. we must face this challenge head on.

Question is, who is to blame for the drug problem our children are facing today. Fact is that most children are first exposed to drugs and alcohol at home, they see their parents smoke and drink most parents try to hide but they underestimate the watchfulness of their children. Children view such parents as hypocrites who don’t practice what they preach. Most child addicts will tell you that they had their first drink and smoke at home. they stole their parents booze, cigarette and they started imitating their parents. some parents never drink or smoke at home, they try their best to protect their children from drugs. others do not smoke or drink at all but then the child grows and leaves the nest. they are exposed to other children and fail to resist peer pressure.

Teenagers are more prone to take up drugs than any other group, blame it on the hormones, self esteem issues, the need to fit in, it starts with one drink, one joint and then the addiction slowly creeps in. There is a large array of drugs to chose from nowadays from marijuana, to cocaine and even heroine!
Which brings us to the question, who is supplying our children with drugs? Drugs are so easily accessible in schools and places our children hang out. The drug cartel has found itself into our schools, they are recruiting students, teachers, nonteaching staff and anyone in need of quick cash as their dealers. The temptation to make money is irresistible and slowly one loses their conscience to greed. The dealer ceases to care about the clients age or background, viewed as a money- making machine, encouraged to take drugs on credit, sometimes drugs are given for free to ensure that the client gets addicted and eventually is at the mercy of the dealer. Once the child is addicted, they can do anything for a fix, they will begin to lie and steal to get money to fuel their addiction.

Schools have been considered a safe-haven for children however the rate at which drugs are associated with schools nowadays is alarming. Our educators need to protect our children and not expose them to drugs, measures need to be taken to ensure that there are no drugs within the school premises and those found guilty of engaging in drugs as suppliers or users must be dealt with severely. Teachers need to revive their interest in their student’s welfare and liaise with parents when it comes to disciplining students.

Parents should make it their business to know where their children spend their time, investigate and know their children’s friends, parents and family. The influence of western culture is also partly to blame and parents should teach their children their culture and give them a sense of direction.