Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention in Selected Secondary Schools in Zambia
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The study sought to establish current practices and policies in drug and alcohol abuse prevention education in selected secondary schools in Zambia. This need was necessitated by the fact that despite escalating incidences of drug and alcohol abuse among schoolgoing children, little was known concerning prevention practices and policies used in Zambia’s secondary schools. The study aimed at answering the following research questions: (1) What were the practices in drug and alcohol abuse prevention in secondary schools? (2) What were the drug and alcohol abuse prevention policy guidelines used in secondary schools? (3) How were the drug and alcohol abuse prevention activities conducted in secondary schools? And (4) How were the drug and alcohol abuse prevention policy guidelines implemented in secondary schools? The study adopted a descriptive survey research design to collect, analyze and interpret both quantitative and qualitative data from 514 respondents. Using questionnaires, quantitative data was collected from learners and teachers and analyzed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) to generate tables, graphs and percentages. Semi-structured interview and focus group discussion guides were used to collect qualitative data from Head Teachers, DEBS, DEC officers and learners, In addition, document analysis checklist was also used to gather data relating to policy guidelines. Qualitative data was analyzed using thematic analysis. Thus, major themes were drawn for easy descriptions. The study found that learners were taught more of factual information than skill-based and normative education, schools used external prevention education providers, peer educators and involved parents in prevention service provision. Regarding prevention policy guideline, the study found that there were no specific documents on drug and alcohol prevention policy in all the secondary schools. The elements of drug prevention policy guidelines used were in the general school rules and were punitive in nature as opposed to educational. Further, the study found that although a variety of prevention activities were used, the most frequently conducted were lectures and discussions. In addition, prevention education activities were irregularly conducted. It was also established that distribution of school rules to learners as they reported to school and head teachers communicating the rules to learners during school assemblies were the most used ways of implementing policy guidelines. On the basis of the study findings it is recommended that providers of preventive education should teach content that has the potential to reduce abuse by learners in the school such as drug refusal skills in combination with social life skills training. Policies should focus more on educational and remedial measures rather than punitive measures. Furthermore, prevention education should be provided on a regular basis by means of multiple sessions and booster sessions.
University of Zambia
- Education