The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Police, Nacada Partner to Rid Region of Drug Abuse

NYANZA regional coordinator Francis Mutie has directed the police to firmly deal with drug peddlers in the area. Mutie said officers manning the borders need to be vigilant, pointing out that drug abuse trends in the region are worrying.

The order comes barely a day after the police in Sori town, Migori county impounded a bhang haul with a street value of Sh1.6 million. Mutie said the lives of the youth must be protected at all cost. He added they cannot watch those with vested interests make the youth unproductive. Mutie said Nyanza is second in bhang smoking after central region, according to a survey carried out in 2012.

The region also has the second highest usage of chang'aa at 6.2 per cent against the national average of 4.2 per cent. Nacada regional programme officer Samson Wambisa raised the alarm over rise in bhang abuse and heavy consumption in Nyanza.

Wambisa said Nyanza recorded tremendous increase of bhang use from 1.4 to 1.7 per cent in 2012, in spite of the national decline. Report by Nacada shows that nationally, 13.6 per cent of Kenyans aged 15-65 years consume alcohol while 5.8 per cent abuse drugs. The percentage of those who are dependent on alcohol is 5.5. They were speaking on Monday during the "Epuka pombe na dawa za kulevya" roadshow in Kisumu city.

Mutie and Wambisa said it is regrettable that young lives are increasingly being destroyed by bhang and illicit brews. "We are sensitising youths in Western Kenya, especially during this festive season to reduce drug abuse and consumption of illicit brew," they said.

They warned the youth to desist from drug abuse, saying the practice exposes them to the risk of contracting cancer. Wambisa said bhang and alcohol are the most abused drugs especially by the youth.

"The youth should engage in productive activities as the government is set to allocate funds for various projects," said Mutie. They called for more sensitisation campaigns to educate the youth on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, adding that this has negative

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