The Ministry of Education has revealed that there is an increase in marijuana cases and alcohol consumption at secondary and primary schools around the country and the Ministry and Police, are working tirelessly to stall the consumption and sale of drugs in schools.
Education Minister, Mr Filipe Bole, highlighted this at the official opening of the 2010 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking or IDADAIT, or in simple terms No Drugs Day at Marela House on Friday. Mr Bole also launched two important items- the Information Education Communication (IEC) materials for this campaign and the Drug-Free School Concept. The international theme for IDADAIT is Ã¢â‚¬Å“Think Health, Not DrugsÃ¢â‚¬Â and here at home, our theme is Ã¢â‚¬Å“Drugs are not part of my lifeÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Mr Bole said that in FijiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 736 primary and 174 secondary schools, IDADAIT is a day filled with activities that focus on the dangers of drugs in society and at the same time, highlight solutions to contain this pressing issue.
The Minister also unveiled the integrated blue and red ribbon which is a merged slogan depicting Ã¢â‚¬Å“No Drugs. Stop Child AbuseÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We can all testify to what drugs can do to our society. It breaks down the very fabric that holds our communities and families together; it alienates children from their parents and transforms schools into places of violence and chaos,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Mr Bole.
He added that drug offenses in our schools include reported cases of alcohol, marijuana and cigarettes.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Although there was a drop in school drug offences from 2008-2009, that is, a drop of 9 percent at primary level and 11.8 percent at secondary level, it must be noted that in the same period, there was a 34 percent increase in marijuana cases at secondary and 28.5 percent in alcohol consumption at primary level,Ã¢â‚¬Â said the Minister.
He also said that his ministry hopes to reduce the number of drugs and substance abuse reported cases by 10 percent this year.