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Drug abuse among university students ‘on the rise’

By Suzanna Goussous - Feb 11,2016 - Last updated at Feb 11,2016

AMMAN — While the overall number of students using drugs is not high, the phenomenon of drug abuse has been on the rise, according to a study.

Citing a recent survey by the University of Jordan (UJ), Jordan Anti-Drugs Society (JADS) President Musa Dawood said that around 450 students were known to be drug abusers in 2015, recording a 20 per cent increase over three years.

The findings also indicated that 3 per cent of UJ students admitted to having used various types of drugs.

In the general picture, Dawood said, the rate of drug use among students has witnessed an increase over the past 10 years and although the figure might not be alarmingly high to some, “every person counts”.

“It doesn’t matter how many students do drugs. As long as one person has a problem, it means the problem exists and authorities have to find a solution to it,” he said. 

The activist stressed the importance of dealing with cases instead of merely locating the issue and evaluating statistics, which, he said, show that Jordan has a “serious” issue as the rate of drug use stands at 2.4 per cent in schools. 

 “The first step to fighting this phenomenon would be acknowledging its existence in our society,” he noted.

The JADS president suggested including more material on the consequences of drug use in the curricula in both schools and universities around the Kingdom, as well as activating existing strategies. 

“More messages on the consequences of drug use should be conveyed to students from the seventh to 12th grades, in order to immunise them before joining colleges, where they might experience temptation,” he said. 

The drug problem is not limited to students, but is rather a nationwide problem, where the percentage of drug abusers equals that recorded among school and university students.

The school or university itself is insignificant as a factor that would encourage resort to drugs, according to Dawood.

However, some students doubted that the rate of drug use recorded in the UJ survey was accurate, since some faculty members told students that they were required to write their university numbers on their survey responses, leaving no assurance of anonymity. 

UJ President Ekhleif Tarawneh told The Jordan Times that in all cases, the study findings alert the university to the need for conducting deeper studies on each of the issues fathomed in the landmark survey, which covered all the students registered in the current semester, totalling more than 37,000.

He noted that the university is to continue its cooperation with JADS to spread awareness among young citizens.

 

The strategy to be followed includes extracurricular activities and lectures to educate students on this issue, along with other events regarding drug abuse that will be held on campus as community service, according to Tarawneh.

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