Nigeria lawmakers request mandatory drug tests for secondary school students

The Nigerian House of Representatives has encouraged the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health to work together to develop a drug test that is required of all secondary school students.

This came after Moshood Oshun (APC-Lagos) adopted a resolution at Thursday’s plenary in Abuja titled “On Need to Introduce Mandatory Drug Test for Secondary School Students in Nigeria.

“Adolescence is still a crucial time in human development, according to Mr. Oshun, who made the motion presentation.

According to him, people at this age are typically impacted by things like peer pressure, experimental curiosity, low socioeconomic conditions at home, and the need for extra energy for daily activities.

He said youth were critical stakeholders in fostering socio-economic development in the country, adding that their vulnerability to societal vices necessitates strategic government intervention.

According to him, this was done to ensure their welfare and boost their contributions to the advancement of the country.

He voiced alarm about youth substance abuse, saying it was quickly becoming a global public health concern.

“According to studies, there is a notable prevalence of drug and substance abuse across secondary schools in Nigeria. One in every four students aged between 15 to 19 years abused substances,” he said.

He claimed that codeine-containing syrup was among them, and that tramadol was the most popular drug, surpassing even cannabis in demand.

The lawmaker pointed out that random student drug testing (RSDT) is a programme that prevents drug usage by screening students for recent drug use.

He claimed the purpose of this was to identify students who required assistance in abstaining from drugs and to discourage drug use.

Mr Oshun said a mandatory routine and random drug testing for students was for preventive, not punitive, purposes and early intervention.

He emphasised that in order to successfully combat the national drug abuse crisis, it was imperative.

After passing the motion, the House encouraged the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to step up their national programmes to raise awareness about substance abuse among secondary school students.

The parliament also mandated its Committees on Basic Education and Services and Healthcare Services to ensure compliance and report for further legislative action within four weeks.