A vice or lifestyle: Rampant drug abuse among varsity students

Dr Anthony Omerikwa, Chief Executive Officer of NACADA.

Rampant drug abuse among university and college students is at an all-time high. The vice has become something normal, something that is fun to do. Drugs and alcohol abuse is now considered one of the major ‘fun’ activities loved by university-goers. It is odd or even weird not to use any drug while in the company of fellow comrades.

The use and abuse of drugs has been the norm and its prevalence is all over, from the current music genres, literature books and movies which University and college students interact with on the daily basis, with the cannabis, alcohol and tobacco leading as the most abused drugs.

These materials form the foundation of the collective content which shapes the life of the current young generations.

According to *Njoroge* not the actual name of the student from one of the leading university in Kenya, drug taking has become a lifestyle in campus and is no longer harm to students. It cuts across both genders.

“I use drugs to relax and relieve myself some stress which comes with campus struggles, it really helps me forget my woes and relate well with my course mates,” he said.

Many students take advantage of the freedom and life away from home situation to experience anything coming their ways. Campus on Weekends especially from Thursday to Sunday it’s all party- hollic environment. Every student is on their free wheel to maximise the time.

According to Tasha, a student in Moi University, a party without alcohol and bhang is not a party. She insisted that she cannot attend such parties without having a mind blowing puff and a tumbler of a heavy drink.


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“I won’t enjoy the party on a fresh mind, and additionally everybody in the party is using the drugs, why not me. I have to “kujiachilia vilivyo” enjoy fully,” she added.

According to NACADA’s latest survey on the Status of Drugs and Substance Use, 2022, one in every 11 youths aged between 15-24 years are currently using at least one drug. Another statistics revealed that among the youth. Most of the youths in this age brackets are in universities and college attendees and this points out a very concerning issue.

Drug and substance abuse among student pose negative side effects of mental illness, truancy, dropping out of school, addiction and even crime involvements. These have shattered the dreams of many students whom parents had put a lot of hope and resources.

Even though the Government is pumping a lot of money in the education sector after every financial year, the menace remains so high that the quality of graduates produced by higher learning institutions remains questionable. This does not reflect on the effort put by the Government to uplift and develop the education standards in the country.

The drug and substance abuse has been normalised to an extend of being viewed as a lifestyle, however it’s a deep ditch which will ruin the education sector in the country and leave many generations without hope for tomorrow.

By Brian Ndigo

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