By Lydiah Nyawira
Nyeri, Kenya: The campaign to tame alcohol and drug abuse has registered significant gains in Central Kenya.
But a report by National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) warns the use of other drugs, especially miraa and bhang, is on the rise.
The 2012 report notes alcohol consumption was down to 10 per cent in 2012 from 17.7 per cent in 2007.
The use of miraa (khat) among men in the region is up from 4.3 per cent in 2007 to 22.2 per cent in 2012. Use of bhang has gone up from 0.6 per cent to 1.1 per cent during the same period.
Nacada Nyeri County Director James Macharia attributes the rise in drug abuse in Central to the fact that drug cartels are looking for larger markets away from the Coast and have found ways to traffic the drugs to the region.
The county director confirmed that the alarming trend has led to efforts to curb the entry of drugs into the region through partnership with the police.
“We are partnering with the police Narcotics unit to stop the trafficking from the entry points such as Kirinyaga and other border counties,” said Macharia.
He attributed the drop in alcohol use to a concerted effort by the Provincial Administration and stakeholders in the region.
“The Provincial Administration was crucial in tackling the alcohol abuse in the region. Also other stakeholders such as the media were key in sensitising the public on the problem and this has yielded results,” he said.
The devolvement of the licensing of liquor outlets to the sub county committees is one of the ways Nacada hopes it can partner with the counties in fighting drugs.
The report also noted that the lack of rehabilitation centres in rural areas has forced communities to rely on elders and religious leaders to curb the menace.
According to Macharia, Nacada is hoping to create affordable rehabilitation facilities. “We are hoping to have rehabilitation programs within all former provincial general hospitals,” Macharia said.