Community support is needed to fight drugs in schools - Professor Mary Metcalfe

Drugs are increasingly becoming a problem in our schools and are destroying young lives and tearing families apart. Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi has a simple solution: random searches, seizures and testing at schools.

The South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence have given Lesufi their support.

Professor Mary Metcalfe, Co-Convenor Of The Higher Education National Convention at Wits University says random drug testing can be effective only if it is part of a whole programme of dealing with the scourge of drugs. She explains that as an isolated approach, it may not work.

There are a range of strategies that need to be put into place and considered by schools, together with communities. It's not something schools can do on their own.

Professor Mary Metcalfe, Co-Convenor Of The Higher Education National Convention at Wits University

Metcalfe adds that learners need to be informed about drug use and difficulties of being affected by substance abuse. Random drug testing in the absence of a comprehensive strategy will not be as effective as it should be, says Metcalfe.

Metcalfe also says that if random drug testing is going to be introduced, it is important that parents and the community understand the purpose of the exercise to minimise resistance.

Read: The issue of drugs has taken over our schools - Panyaza Lesufi

Drug taking is a massive problem in schools and I would agree that we need to identify young people using drugs not only for punitive purposes but also for rehabilitation purposes.

Professor Mary Metcalfe, Co-Convenor Of The Higher Education National Convention at Wits University

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