The National Campaign Against Drugs (Nacada), has expressed concerns over the rise in the use of cannabis in the country.
Nacada’s acting CEO John Muteti said that this increase features people between the ages of 24 and 35.
According to Muteti, the usage rate of cannabis has doubled over the past five years, with the number of users rising from 1 per cent to 2 per cent nationwide.
He was speaking during an interview with Spice FM.
Muteti attributes the surge to the influence of the international community, suggesting that news of other countries legalizing the medicinal use of cannabis might have been misconstrued by Kenyan youth as permission for recreational use.
He, however, said that most countries that have been legalizing the use of cannabis have strict control measures in place.
“This may be as a result of the international scenario where we hear countries are allowing this use and it’s actually a myth, they’re not allowing it for day to day use, most of the countries we hear are allowing the use of cannabis allow it for medicinal purposes and it is controlled,” said Muteti.
He emphasized that cannabis, also known as Bhang, is a dangerous drug, leading to hallucinations and addiction.
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Muteti urged the youth to disregard the myths on the internet and recognize that there are no advantages to using hard drugs.
“There’s no advantage you get from smoking hard drugs like Cannabis.”
Addressing concerns about Kenya's reputation as a "drinking nation," Muteti said that alcohol consumption is indeed a significant problem, particularly among the youth.
He pointed out that a large percentage of young people who are out of school engage in excessive drinking and drug use.
“According to the survey released in May shows that children as low as the age of 6 years are taking alcohol,” he said.
He says early exposure to drugs sets a troubling pattern that worsens during one's teenage years, ultimately affecting the individuals.
Muteti attributed the escalating drug use to factors like peer pressure and parental influence, which tend to normalize drug consumption and make it appear fashionable.