Unsuspecting school children at a risk of being exposed to a dangerous drug disguised in candy and flavored powders. School authorities have started calling on parents and guardians to step up their vigilance to this new form of drug.
A circular disseminated to parents in one of the Kampala schools warns about a new drug being circulated in schools.
According to the circular issued by the Headmaster of Kabojja Junior School, the candy known as ‘strawberry quick’ or crystal meth is reported to be like a strawberry lollipop which sizzles and pops.
When ingested, its effects on human life are manifested in form of drowsiness, general body weakness and black outs requiring emergency medical attention.
Red Pepper is set to establish the seriousness of the problem and if children and school administrators are aware of the suspicious drug.
Some P7 pupils in Kampala revealed that they had been enticed by strangers to accept sweets; others had heard conversations among passengers in taxis and boda boda operators about the candy like sweet that gives users an ecstatic state.
However pupils from Kitante Primary school say because they have been advised against drug abuse in school, they managed to discard the candy. They gave suggestions of what should be done to curb the problem and called on authorities to be alert and arrest peddlers.
Richard Okiror, Head Teacher at the Kabbojja Junior School, confirmed to this paper on phone that the circular was not an indication of any abuse in his school, but a fore warning to bus operators who pick children from school, and care givers who are in an environment that the school has no control over.
Hajat Yudaya Mpagi, a guiding and counseling mistress and teacher at Kitante Primary school, says that parents need to be vigilant and warn children against accepting any candy that looks suspicious and looks like chocolate, strawberry, cola strawberry.
Dr. Sheila Ndyanabangi, Principal Medical Officer Mental Health and Control of Substance Abuse at the Ministry of Health, explained that it has become a serious concern that many youth and school going children are being induced to take drugs disguised in enticing flavorings’.
Dr. Ndyanabangi said that her department is pushing for the ban on any flavoring items that comes in form of chocolates, candy or powder, yet they are laced with nicotine and other substances that are harmful to human health.
Dr Ndyanabangi blames some weak laws against drug traffickers and lack of awareness of both parents and pupils as loopholes in ridding the country off drugs.
She noted that a drug control master plan is being formulated together with the Narcotics Control Bill in Parliament, which if enacted, would see drug peddlers pay high penalties and provide rehabilitation for abusers.