The Star (Nairobi)

26 September 2012

Kenya: Drug Users to Get Syringes

Women are expected to take a large share of the syringes to be distributed to drug addicts in the country, the government has said. Coast provincial Director of public health and sanitation Anisa Omar said the program to provide syringes to drug addicts will be implemented through rehabilitation centres to prevent a further spread of communicable diseases.

She said close to 40 per cent of Intravenous Drug Users are women. This, she said, is as a result of inadequate awareness amongst them. Anisa attributed this to the fact that more men were willing to seek for counseling unlike women who feared stigmatisation," Anisa said in her office yesterday.

"Those involved in the IDU will have to be put under rehabilitation and replacement therapy. They will be put on methadone injection to avoid withdrawal symptoms. "But in the entire country, the prevalence of those using syringes stands at 25 per cent of the drug addicts. 40 per cent of them are women because of the awareness issues."

Anisa revealed that a policy paper on the modalities to distribute syringes to drug addicts has been prepared. The programme targets over 26,000 youth in Mombasa and 20,000 in Nairobi who inject drugs. Anisa was speaking in her office yesterday.

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