New bid to end drug abuse in Uasin Gishu

Uasin Gishu Governor Jonathan Bii (second right), officially opens the new academic student centre after the launch of the Alcohol and Drug Control Action plan at the Eldoret National Polytechnic. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

Uasin Gishu County in partnership with the National Government through National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) has launched an action plan to fight substance abuse.

The initiative is a collaboration with other agencies to stamp out the menace that has ruined the lives of both the youth and adults in the region.

According to findings by a multi-agency team in the county, drug abuse had affected some youth hence hurting economic development.

Speaking during the launch at The Eldoret National Polytechnic, Uasin Gishu, Governor Jonathan Bii said the action plan 2023/2024 is timely to confront the alarming rise in alcohol and drug abuse among youth.

Dr Bii said his administration is committed to teaming up with stakeholders to fight the menace, which has highly contributed to family breakages and increased school dropout cases.

“The launch is a culmination of a Joint communique done for Rift Valley recently where Alcohol and Drug Abuse (ADA) was identified as a major challenge to socio-economic development following public concerns across the counties,” said Bii urging residents to give priority to educating their children.

The governor indicated that porous borders of neighboring countries pose a great challenge in the supply of banned and contraband alcohol and drugs in the county.

“Corruption is the greatest contributor to the presence of illicit alcohol and drugs from other regions. The action plan is a crucial step as it embraces a multi-sectoral approach to end the menace,” he said.

NACADA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Antony Omerikwa said Uasin Gishu is the first county to launch the action plan.

“We are here to support President William Ruto because he wishes good for the people of this county and that is why we are doing this as a national approach as we view this issue of alcohol and drug abuse as a threat to the security of this country,” stated Dr Omerikwa.

He expressed confidence that the collaborative approach of the multi-agency, compliance checking, and available legislation dealing with illicit alcohol trade will consequently boost our mission.

NACADA Chairman, Rev Stephen Mairori, said they have worked out a formula for dealing with demand reduction and supply suppression by working together to ensure all the agencies tasked with preventing illegal goods from entering the country are working effectively. 

Uasin Gishu County Commissioner, Eddyson Nyale said a multi-agency committee on combating illicit brew, alcohol, trade, and substance abuse was revived to convene a stakeholders’ forum to develop a County Action Plan in line with the resolutions to end substance abuse.

Dr Nyale added that following the Presidential directive on the fight against illicit brew and other narcotics, a number of initiatives were put in place including a Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) with collaborative efforts from the County Multi-Agency Committee.

He said the County has profiled 1,369 reformers and 981 brewers towards engaging them to adopt Alternative Livelihood initiatives.

The Eldoret National Polytechnic Chief Principal, Charles Koech, lauded the move by the national and county governments in coming up with the multi-agency approach to address the alarming issue of alcohol and drug abuse, which is common among the youth, particularly in learning institutions.

He said they have already developed a workplace policy on alcohol and drug abuse that is going to address the issue.

“We will work closely with NACADA and other agencies to ensure our youth are sensitized against antisocial vices that will affect their progress,” said Koech.