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More varsity students smoking bhang, Nacada

 Bhang. [iStockphoto]

A report by the National Authority for the Campaign Against Drug Abuse (Nacada), reveals a spike in the use of bhang in the country, especially among university students of between 18 to 24 years.

The report reveals that the abuse of bhang among students represents an increase of two per cent to four per cent between 2017 and 2022. 

Overall, the report finds that alcohol and bhang remain the most abused drug substances in the country, mostly affecting the youth, especially those in tertiary institutions. 

According to Nacada, more than half of the youths (596,336 out of 1,137,288) abusing drugs and substances are addicts most of whom are between 25 to 35 years of age. 

However, the report shows a reduction in prevalence in the use of alcohol from 18.2 per cent to 17.5 per cent within the same period.  

It also showed a varying trend in the initiation age of consuming the drugs ranging between 16 to 20 years for different hard drugs that the country grapples with like tobacco, bhang, miraa, heroin and cocaine among others. 

"There is increased demand for cheaper and readily available alcoholic products, especially chang'aa, traditional brews and potable spirits," records the survey. 

The details emerged on Wednesday during the launch of the Nacada Strategic Plan in Nairobi.

Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo raised concern over the increase in health hazards associated with drug and alcohol abuse in the country.

Smuggling, counterfeits, unregistered brands, substitution/refills, tax leakage and Illicit artisanal alcohol, were enlisted in the report as the challenges bedeviling the fight against drug and substance abuse across the country.

The agency, however, decried the inadequacy of funds to implement the 2023-2027 plan. It requires at least Sh12 billion.

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