Reps recommend mandatory drug tests for secondary school students

House of Representatives

The House of Representatives, on Thursday, called for compulsory drug testing for secondary school students in the country given the incessant cases of substance abuse by young Nigerians.

The resolution of the House was a sequel to the adoption on the floor of the House on Thursday, a motion on the “Need to introduce mandatory drug testing for secondary school students in Nigeria,” moved by member representing Lagos Mainland Federal Constituency, Olanrewaju Oshun.

Oshun, while leading the debate, stated that youths are critical stakeholders in fostering socio-economic development in the country, adding that their vulnerability to societal vices necessitates strategic government intervention to secure their well-being and enhance their contributions to national development;

He expressed worry that “Substance abuse among young people is fast becoming a global public health concern, gradually leading to complications like personality disorders, drug dependence and death.”

He said, “Studies show a notable prevalence of drug and substance abuse across secondary schools in Nigeria,” adding that “One in every four students aged between 15-19 years abused substances, and codeine-containing syrup and tramadol topped the list of drugs, ranking higher than cannabis.”

The lawmaker advocated Random Student Drug Testing, a drug prevention programme whereby students are tested for recent use of illegal substances and is aimed at deterring drug use and identifying students who need help with staying drug-free.

Following the adoption of the motion, the House urged the Federal Ministries of Education and Health to collaborate and develop a mandatory drug testing programme for secondary school students in Nigeria.

Similarly, the House urged the National Orientation Agency and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency to increase awareness about substance abuse among secondary school students nationwide.

It further mandated the Committees on Basic Education and Services, and Healthcare Services to ensure compliance and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.