26 November 2018

Kenya: State Launches Drive to End Rampant Drug Abuse

The government has launched a campaign to curb the rising cases of drug abuse among the youth in Kangundo, Machakos County.

This follows an outcry by parents and local leaders over what they said was the government's failure to tackle the menace.

Speaking with the Nation, Kangundo OCPD Benjamin Ong'ombe, while revealing the measures aimed at taming drug abuse in the sub-county, called for public support for the campaign to succeed.

Mr Ong'ombe said drug use was the biggest contributor to crime, school dropouts, violence against children and domestic conflicts.

"Drug abuse among the youth has become common in this region. It has turned them into zombies unable to fend for themselves," the OCPD said on Friday during an interview in his office.

FRUSTRATED CRACKDOWN

He accused the residents of not providing information to security agencies. "In some areas, locals have frustrated the crackdown and we are still facing a challenge of not knowing the whereabouts of a majority of the suppliers since they are always on the run," Mr Ong'ombe said.

Residents are now appealing to the authorities, particularly the police, to intensify the operation to rid the area of drugs to save the vulnerable youth in Kangundo and across the county.

Ms Ruth Mutuku, a resident of Kangundo town, said the crackdown would help in tackling other challenges like consumption of illegal brews.

"The security situation has improved because we are encouraged to report crime to the police or our representatives," she said.

DRUG ABUSE

Mr Peter Muli from Matetani location said drug abuse has led many youths to drop out of school to venture into the boda-boda business. "I'm happy the security team is doing something about it but they should do more and ensure all drug peddlers are brought to book. They are destroying our youth," Mr Muli said.

Kangundo MP Fabian Kyule said the proximity of the area to Nairobi was one of the key reasons behind the soaring cases of drug abuse and other crimes.

He called for tough action to be taken against individuals found peddling drugs in the sub-county, saying if not urgently addressed, the problem could lead to a serious education crisis in the region.

"People should not fear the police. We should all work together to make our neighbourhoods safer," Mr Kyule said.

ARRESTED SUPPLIERS

Kangundo OCPD Ong'ombe and DCIO David Wafula earlier this month launched a crackdown against drug abuse in the region.

"The operation is still on and so far we have arrested nine suppliers and 56 users. Our main aim is to end drug abuse for the betterment of this region," the OCPD said.

He said the arrests were made in Kangundo town, Synthi, Kawethei, Mateteni and Kyavaluki locations.

Mr Ong'ombe said his unit had received two sniffer dogs to help law enforcers in drug detection.

"The sniffer dogs have been very helpful in this fight. They have led us to many drug hiding places, where would possibly not have discovered without their help," the police boss said.

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