A report by the Consultative Committee to Combat Drug Menace in Schools has established that about 54.1% of boys in Junior High and Senior High Schools use cannabis.
According to a survey which was carried out by the Committee, 59.9% of boys tend to use cigarettes more in schools.
The survey was conducted in 176 schools to ascertain the source and cause of an increase in drug use in various Senior High and Junior High Schools in the country, following the establishment of the Committee under a directive by President Akufo-Addo.
Within a year, the Committee has completed its findings and submitted a report to the President through Interior Minister-designate Ambrose Dery who inaugurated the terms of reference of the Committee on behalf of the President.
After the survey, the Committee has established that 36.4% of first and second-cycle students in the country experiment with two or more different (drug) substances.
Giving a breakdown of the numbers, the Committee noted that “about 88.6% of students that were sampled undergo stress in various schools and drugs are the major influences of the stress.”
This occurrence was blamed largely on bad eating habits in schools which according to the report contributes about 64% of stress in students.
It further established that, 36% of boys and 32.1% of girls use alcohol in schools, while 34.3% of girls use shisha in schools.
Also, it was recorded that 72.7% of girls use pain relievers in schools.
According to Chairman of the Committee, Bright Appiah, the Committee used various methodologies to secure information, which included engagements with about 10 psychiatrics, 138 heads of schools, and 72 guidance and counselling units in various schools.
He added that the Committee reviewed works by other institutions such as the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Narcotic Control Board, the Ghana Police Service, the Gender and Social Protection Ministry, among others, to enrich their report.
Going forward, the Committee has recommended that, much focus should be placed in strengthening the country’s social support system.
“One of them is the eating habit of students. They don’t eat well and that is really causing stress in them, thereby making them engage in substance abuse,” Mr Appiah said.
He also called for the establishment of rehabilitation centers to district hospitals, rather than have them in psychiatric hospitals.
He explained that a number of students would not want to go to such facilities (psychiatric hospitals) because of stigma, adding that others also hold the perception that persons who are found in the psychiatric hospitals are perceived to be lunatics.
However, “the conditions they are in can sometimes be resolved by these district hospitals,” he said.