The Cameroon Antenna invites the educational community, CSOs and the government to protect schools and youth from psychoactive drugs and other drugs.
Pope Francis recommended that we have to “strengthen the coordination of policies to combat drugs and addiction” and “create networks of solidarity and proximity with those affected by these diseases“. In Cameroon, some schools are overrun by drugs and painkillers such as Tramadol, Diazepam or D10. These drugs, which are circulating and available over the counter on the streets, are diverted from their medical use and used as narcotics by young people. The situation is aggravated by the proliferation of “street pharmacies” in the vicinity of schools and the practice of self-medication. Their use without medical advice causes damage to the physical and mental health of young people, and damages the school and social climate. This is a growing phenomenon that challenges education, the future of the school, the family and the Cameroonian nation.
Since 2010, there has been an increase in cases of indiscipline, deviant behaviour and new types of crime due to drug use in schools, both in rural and urban areas. 6.11% of secondary school students reported using Tramadol without a medical prescription. At the Jamot Centre in Yaoundé, more than ¾ of the patients admitted for behavioural disorders related to drug use are young people aged 15 to 39. Alerted, the Antenna mobilized governmental and non-governmental actors around for an action-research on the phenomenon. In a multifaceted approach, it seeks to understand the systemic causes underlying the circulation and illicit use of psychoactive drugs in schools in order to provide concerted solutions with a view to sustainable and comprehensive development.
Through media actions, educational talks, posters and leaflets placed in schools, the Cameroon antenna raises awareness to the educational community about the harmful effects of drugs in general. Moreover, parents, educators and the administrative authorities become aware of the issues. Faced with this real public health problem, the Antenna of AEFJN advocates for the protection of the school environment from the circulation and illicit use of psychoactive drugs as well as for the setting up of structures for the care and support of students confronted with drugs. The objective is to encourage policies that will fight against the non-medical use of psychoactive drugs and other drugs in schools by integrating it as an axis of sectoral health and education strategies.
P. Armel FOPA, O.Carm