The Bureau for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment in Kaduna says it will soon begin drug tests for secondary school students as part of efforts to curb the prevalence of drug abuse.

Its Director-General, Dr. Baka Isah-Shaedouw, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Kaduna that the step would enable the agency to ascertain the level of drug abuse among youths.

“We intend to also use the opportunity of such tests to enlighten the youths on the negative impact of substance abuse in their lives,” he said.

He said that the agency would carry out a survey to establish the prevalence and incidence of substance abuse in secondary schools and the society.

“The findings from such survey will be used to map out strategies to tackle the menace,” he said.

The Director-General said that people were already being trained to carry out the survey that would last for a month or two.

He said that the agency was proposing more enlightenment programmes on drugs abuse in secondary and primary schools .

“We are extending the enlightenment programmes to primary schools because some teachers have informed us that some pupils are already into drugs substance,” he explained.

He said that the agency was already collaborating with local governments since the primary schools were under them.

The official said that the agency targeted 500 secondary schools to be visited last year but could only reach 200 schools campaigns “due to some challenges”.

He said that clubs were being promoted in schools to promote alternative activities to drug involvement, increase understanding of its dangers, encourage students to resist drug use and persuade those using them to seek help.

The Director-General said that the agency would acquire drug testing kits and collaborate with the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency to train health workers on preventive measures and treatment modalities.

“The state government has plans to integrate drug prevention and treatment into the Primary Agency; we believe this will go a long way to ensure that drug abuse programmes go as far as the ward level,” he said.

He said that the agency would also collaborate with the Ministry of Youths and Sports to organise drug free competitions and build three rehabilitation centers, with one in each senatorial zone.

Isah-Shaedouw said that the agency would work with local government officials to curb illegal operation of drinking joints.

“All drinking houses are licensed by local government councils, but we have been told that many of them are not licensed. We have also been told that some operate 24 house service which should not be the case.

“In the past, the Police used to arrest people, but nowadays, people drink through the night which is not good for the society,” he said.

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