Reps want mandatory drug test for secondary school students


The Nigeria’s Federal House of Representatives has urged the Federal Ministries of Education and Health to collaborate and develop a mandatory drug testing programme for secondary school students in Nigeria.

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

The Committees on Basic Education and Services, and Healthcare Services were mandated to ensure compliance and report back within four week for further legislative action.

The House resolutions followed the adoption of a motion titled, “Need to Introduce Mandatory Drug Testing for Secondary School Students in Nigeria” sponsored by Hon. Moshood Olanrewaju Oshun during plenary on Thursday.

The House noted that adolescence is a critical period for drug abuse, influenced by factors such as experimental curiosity, peer pressure, poor socio-economic conditions at home and the need for extra energy for daily activities.

It also noted that the youth are critical stakeholders in fostering socio-economic development in the country and their vulnerability to societal vices necessitates strategic government intervention to secure their wellbeing and enhance their contributions to national development.

The House worried 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.

It also worried that according to studies which showed a notable prevalence of drug and substance abuse across secondary schools in Nigeria, 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 House said it was aware that Random Student Drug Testing (RSDT) is 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.

The House said it was cognizant that a mandatory routine and random drug testing for students is for preventive, not punitive purposes, and early intervention is crucial for achieving success in tackling the menace of substance abuse.