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Cabinet approves for development of school-based substance use prevention framework | 14 August 2019

Cabinet has approved for the establishment of a school-based substance use prevention frameworkfor the country to prevent or delay the onset of the use of substances in school children and the youth.

Giving more details on the framework, Yvana Theresine, director for Prevention & Education at the Agency for the Prevention of Drug Abuse and Rehabilitation (Apdar), said while a lot has been done in terms of treatment and rehabilitation since the agency has been set up, prevention is a more complex component and since last year discussions are ongoing with different stakeholders to chart a better way to work together to step up prevention.

“In line with available evidence and discussions with different stakeholders we have agreed how best to move forward. Thus the presentation to Cabinet for approval of the school-based substance use prevention framework,” Ms Theresine explained.

But how will the framework work? Ms Theresine said the schools will have different programmes which would complement what already exist and will include all students in what is termed universal prevention. But she noted that in relation to substance abuse prevention there is the selective prevention component that covers vulnerable students who are not necessarily using drugs but live in an environment where it is used and therefore very precarious for them.

“This group of pupils need a more specific and targeted programme to build their resilience. There is also those pupils who have already experimented with drugs but are not dependent on it yet and they will be covered under the indicated prevention programme. At the same time prevention actions will also be conducted with parents and other stakeholders,” Ms Theresine stressed.

With regard with the role of the community, Ms Theresine said a greater community stakeholder involvement and engagement is required to have in place the right activities and initiatives in the community to engage the pupils in or provide a refuge for them until their parents or guardians arrive home from work or are working late.

In line with this a working committee to include key representatives of different concerned ministries, agencies, the local government department, the police which would complete the link in the School-Based Substance Use Prevention Framework,is being set up to draft a plan of action to implement it.

While certain components can be carried out at national level, other aspects will have to be piloted at school level as each district and schools have its specific needs and challenges.

Some districts may also have services for instance that others do not have and it can be arranged as to the best way these can benefit the pupils to the maximum.



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