Uganda: Police Warns of Drug Cartels, Gangs in Schools as New Term Begins

As the new terms begins, police have warned school administrators to be on the lookout of drugs among learners as cartels target students.

Speaking on Monday, Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga said in the past, cartels have used schools to circulate drugs, noting that management ought to be on the lookout for these as learners report back for the new term.

“For those taking children back to school should know drug dealers have penetrated schools and supply drugs in form of eats like peanut paste, cookies and bread among others. Schools and parents should be on the lookout for this,” Enanga said.

Last year, police bust a racket selling narcotic drugs to students in schools by preparing it as an ingredient in cookies, biscuits and other eatables which are later sold to them.

Students at an unnamed high school in Kampala had ordered for the drug-laced cookies for consumption during a party that had been organized at school.

“When consumed, the cookies were to allegedly enable them “go high” and enjoy the party to maximum,” police said.

Police investigations led them to find out that the narcotic drugs especially marijuana are laced in baking powder and baking flour which are ingredients used to make the cookies, biscuits, daddies and pancakes which are later sold to students in schools.

The police spokesperson said the drugs are also sold in bottles for Akabanga, a hot chilli oil from Rwanda that is later sold to unsuspecting students.

“When you look at packages and labels, they are similar to other snack items in supermarkets and shops. It makes it difficult for some of the young teenagers in school to tell the different until when they eat the snacks,” Enanga said.

“Some of the drugs are put in tins and sold as spices that are put on tea and in food among other eatables.”

Speaking on Monday, the police spokesperson asked schools to be on lookout for these drugs that might be smuggled into the schools by either the boarding students or even the day scholars.

“The snacks that students bring to the school should be thoroughly checked. The school administrators should be thorough while inspecting items students come back with at school. Be on the lookout for alcohol, cigarettes, lighters, smart phones, electric gadgets and energy drinks among others.”

The police spokesperson also urged schools and parents to be on the lookout for students joining gangs.

He said many students join gangs due to low esteem, lack of identity or seeking companionship and asked school administrators and parents to look out for such signs.

“When they are being bullied, they look for a gang where they feel protected, lack of parental love and peer pressure all lead children to join gangs. It is important to note changes in the style of clothing children are putting on. They want gang-like type of dressing by putting on torn trousers, pins in the ears , jackets, overcoats and tatoos among others. Declining grades in school, poor school attendance, unexplained money or new possessions on them, use of nicknames, a child withdrawing from the family should all be red flags. Parents and teachers should be on the lookout for these.”

Others tips

Parents who transport children to school should escort them up to the classroom

Take boarding students yourself to school

Double check if they are at school

Helmets for children transported on boda bodas to school are a must

Tell children to avoid shortcuts

Teach children to use instincts while they are being followed

Children should be taught how to avoid talking to strangers

Children should avoid getting lifts from strangers

Children must memorise parents’ contacts and names

Don’t print school names on uniforms and bags of children

Teach children never to leave school premises without anyone

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