Editorial comment – Drugs sex abuse and students

Around this date in 2013, the Ministry of Education released worrying statistics about drugs, sexual offences and substance abuse among students in Fiji.

The revelation at the time that an average of 63 primary schools in the country reported cases of students’ involvement each year in these illegal activities was a major concern. Between 2009 and 2011, it noted, a total of 72 high school pregnancy cases were reported.

Over the same period, high schools around the country registered 215 sexual offences, 54 marijuana cases and 522 incidents of smoking.

We reported at the time that the high school offence list over the same period included 268 cases of alcohol use and 369 cases of kava consumption.

The irony though was that as the statistics were released, police uprooted about 40 marijuana plants with a street value of $50,000 in Navosa that same week.

It confirmed the notion at the time that drug farming continued in some parts of our country despite the attention focused on it.

We felt the statistics should have inched out concern among parents and guardians.

We wondered whether it was a reflection of society. We may ponder on the many attributing factors, but there was a need for a clear direction in terms of action to address the issues raised.

There was a need for some urgency. As our country slowly returns to some form of normality now, we are reminded about the possibility of such things popping up again.

In saying that, we are reminded about the importance of awareness and preparing our children to make well informed decisions as they grow into adulthood.

With Methamphetamine being sold around the country now as well as other hard drugs, and in many cases reportedly been easily available in most of our urban centres, we know there is a great need for our children to understand and appreciate how dangerous drugs are.

There needs to be more awareness of the dangers of drug abuse and the social ills connected to it.

Reality hurts, and it isn’t a comforting thought at all when one considers the impact of drug abuse at primary school level.

When figures are added up and age groupings considered, we are left with what could be a bleak future for our youth if we lose the war against hard drugs.

What is comforting though is the fact that we have statistics. These are hard facts that stakeholders can work with.

It is important that there are figures attached to worrying trends. For that is where we are able to start addressing issues.

This is reason enough to have hope for better things. The onus, however, is on the movers and shakers in society to consider the fact that we may have ill-informed students.

We have discussed statistics on Meth or Ice.

We have discussed, in this column about the negative impact it has on the mind and body and how addictive it is.

Today we are reminded about this scourge of society and why we must always be alert. We must keep our guards up!

More Stories