Girls Abusing Drugs More Than Boys, Consulting Firm to Kenyan Catholic Schools Principals

Dr. Susan Gitau, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Elewa Ulevi Consultancy, a firm in matters pertaining to Alcohol and Substance abuse and other addictions in Kenya. Credit: Courtesy photo

While it has been believed that drug abuse is a challenge for boys, a consulting firm in Kenya has told participants in the just concluded seventh edition of the conference of Catholic Schools’ Principals Association (CaSPA) in Kenya that girls are now abusing drugs more than their male counterparts. 

In her Wednesday, July 6 presentation, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Elewa Ulevi Consultancy, Dr. Susan Gitau, highlighted some indicators of drug abuse among learners, adding that there are many cases where drug abuse in schools goes on undetected. 

“We have always said that it's a boys' problem when it comes to alcohol and drugs use; things are changing; we have learned that girls are smoking more and using more substances than boys,” Dr. Gitau said July 6, the last day of the CaSPA conference that kicked off Monday, July 4.

Experiments that Elewa Ulevi Consultancy has done in collaboration with Kenya's National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) have shown that both boys and girls are using drugs indiscriminately, the CEO of the firm specialized in alcohol and substance abuse and other addictions in Kenya said.

“Every time we do toxicology, we test and keep the records which we actually send to NACADA,” Dr. Gitau said, and added, “We have realized that all sexes are affected by drugs unlike before where it was a boys’ problem.”


Students have abused drugs without the knowledge of their respective teachers and other members of learning institutions, she said during the last day of the CaSPA conference during sessions focused on “Emerging Issues (Cultism, Peer Influence, Drugs & Sexual Abuse) and Mental Health Challenges Facing Students and Strategies to Cope.”

Dr. Gitau made reference to a NACADA study that examined drug abuse among students in Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, saying, “82.2 percent of the respondents reported that it was possible for students to use and abuse drugs without the teachers’ knowledge.”

She said that the period of COVID-19, which catalyzed economic challenges caused much confusion in section of parents who ended up influencing their teenage children into drug use and abuse.

“The issue of poor economic status came up during COVID-19 … because of the issues that were going on through the pandemic, there was a lot of violence,” the CEO of Elewa Ulevi Consultancy said during the last day of the conference that the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (KCCB) Commission for Education and Religious Education spearheaded.

During the pandemic, she explained, “there was the exposure of substance and alcohol use … a lot of people did know how it would end when this happened. We got anxious and started drinking at home thus exposing our teenagers to the drugs.”

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“The most distinct predictive factor of adult drug dependence addiction is when one starts using at adolescence,” she warned, 

Dr. Gitau went on to highlight some indicators of drug abuse among learners, which Catholic School Principals can look out for, including poor performance, lack of motivation for fun and exciting activities, and constant complaints of nightmares, among other signs.

She expressed her awareness of falsehoods attached to drug abuse such as use of drugs making one clever, enabling one to work harder, and drugs not being addictive. She urged those at the helm of Catholic schools to be vigilant. 

Dr. Gitau underscored the need to enhance communication between various stakeholders in learning institutions, saying, “It is important that the students get skills on how they can communicate better with their parents, teachers and peers.”

Victims of drug abuse need to be open to professional assistance, the CEO of Elewa Ulevi Consultancy said on the last day of the conference held under the theme, “Catholic Schools: Centers of Spiritual Formation, Character Development & Lifelong Competencies for a Happier Society”.


Openness to professional assistance provides skills to victims of drug abuse to set short-term and long-term health goals for themselves, including how to deal with conflict, aggression and stress, among other issues.

Meanwhile, in his presentation on the second day of the CaSPA Conference, the Archbishop of Nyeri Archdiocese regretted the fact that drinking of alcohol is being used to measure success in the contemporary world, a practice that has found its way into schools.

“Our own families are following a terrible script, a script that is written in American entertainment, dressing code and in priorities,” Archbishop Anthony Muheria said Tuesday, July 5, and added, “Our success today is now measured by social life, level of drinking, and show off of wealth in the public.”

“The problem is not just societal, it has reached our schools, our marriages,” Archbishop Muheria said during his presentation on the topic, “Psychosocial, Moral and Spiritual Support for the Teachers and Staff: A Foundation for Supporting Students”.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.