A random drug test at schools in Bahrain is being urged as a preventive move to combat what is perceived as a growing drug abuse problem among students, the Gulf Daily News reports. A study by the Riyadh-based GCC general secretariat prompted MP Khalifa Al Ghanim to suggest that Education and Health ministries conduct a random drug-testing survey at schools.
Themed ‘Reducing Demand of Drugs, Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances’ù, the wide-ranging study was conducted by Gulf specialists under the direct supervision of interior ministries. Results of the survey revealed alarming drug abuse trends even in primary schools. The study revealed that 10 percent of primary school students consume drugs sporadically, compared with 24 percent at intermediate educational establishments.
The situation gets more alarming at GCC high schools as the rate of drug users is 36.6 percent among first-year secondary students. More than 20 percent of the XI and XII standard students (second-year and third-year) admitted to using drugs while 5.8 percent of university students said that they have started the habit.
The rate of drug abuse among primary school students ranges between 5pc to 10pc in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman but soars alarmingly to hit 25pc in the UAE. In the intermediate stage, the rate of drug users ranges from 13pc in Kuwait and 23pc in the UAE. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar have rates ranging from 30pc to 33pc, while Oman has the highest rate of drug use among intermediate students at 39pc.
Bahrain has the highest rate of drug abuse among first-year secondary students (51 percent), compared with 28-30 percent in Qatar and the UAE, while the rate ranges from 36 percent to 38 percent in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Oman. In the second-year and third-year secondary stages, Kuwait has the highest rate of drug use among students (32 percent), compared with Saudi Arabia and Qatar (18-21 percent), Bahrain, the UAE and Oman (10-12 percent). The proportion of university students who use drugs is highest (8-9 percent) in Kuwait, the UAE and Qatar but ranges from zero percent in Bahrain and Oman and 5 percent in Saudi Arabia.
According to the study, 2 to 3 percent of primary students use drugs on a regular basis, but things get worse in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (10-11 percent), while Qatar and the UAE have the highest rate (25 percent). In the intermediate stage, Oman has the highest rate of regular drug users (32 percent), largely ahead of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar (15 percent) and the UAE and Kuwait (10 percent).
The situation is alarming for first secondary students in Bahrain with 46 percent using drugs regularly, followed by Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Oman (35-39 percent) and the UAE (31 percent). Al Ghanim urged the ministries to extend a helping hand to sporadic drug users before they become hooked on drugs, and intensify anti-narcotics programmes.