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Too many teens abusing drugs

By James Maina | April 24th 2016

My neighbourhood has lately been hit by news of rampant drug abuse, with fears that school children are gradually getting sucked into the vice.

The concerns became more pronounced during the holidays, since children have too much free time. A number of parents have observed queer behaviour among their children, which they attribute to drug use.

My next door neighbour, Mama Deno, noticed some unusual behaviour in her son, a Third Former at a distant boarding school.

“Deno’s eyes have turned red lately, and he loses concentration,” she told Mama Jimmy. “Just the other day, we were sitting in the living room when I sent him to fetch my shuka from the bedroom, and halfway to the bedroom, he forgot where he was going and ended up in the kitchen and came with a glass of water.”

She also noted that her son has an enhanced appetite, a phenomenon that is normally associated with marijuana use.

It has been said that people who smoke marijuana can effortlessly clear a meal that is normally meant for two or three people, and demand more. So, when Mama Deno saw her teenage son gobbling ugali and porridge like a famine victim, and still retain that “niongezee tafadhali” look, alarm bells immediately started ringing in her head.

Two gates away, Baba Stano has had to contend with rumours that his daughter, Shiro, has been smoking shisha. This habit has become fashionable among youngsters in this town, but no one would have imagined Shiro would engage in it.

It all started as a rumour after Shiro allegedly took photographs of herself in the company of friends smoking shisha at an undisclosed joint, and posted these on social media. And as happens with rumours of this nature, everyone seems to believe them, and Baba Stano became a very worried man.

“I heard people saying they have seen my daughter’s photos on Instagram,” he told me. “But she denied these claims, so I will just have to watch her more keenly.”


Other than shisha, khat is another drug that has been trending in my neighbourhood. Popularly known as miraa or gomba, this herb from Meru has taken my neighbourhood by storm, and there is a growing cabal of youthful chewers.

The herb is said to excite one’s mind and trigger colourful debates, while stifling sleep for hours. As such, miraa chewers can stay awake for hours on end, while unleashing one story after another.

Jimmy’s friend Kim has been spotted at Mugambi’s kiosk, which is among the numerous joints where the herb is sold.

“My son hated vegetables ever since he was a baby,” his mother laments. “He still cannot touch a bowl of spinach unless you threaten him, and the sight of cabbage drives him to tantrums. I am yet to understand how he would sit for hours and chew those twigs.” These and other allegations makes one wonder what makes some of these drugs attractive and irresistible to the youth. Unlike mainstream drugs such as beer and wines which enjoy prominence in some media channels as well as celebrity endorsement in some cases, some of the new drugs are largely consumed and peddled undercover.

“I wonder what makes some of these drugs so attractive to the young generation,” wonders my friend Odhiambo.

“You never see them advertised on TV or in the newspapers, yet the youth are eagerly using them. I hate to imagine how the situation would be if, for instance, advertisements of bhang or muguka were on TV or in glossy magazines.”

It remains to be known how a boy gets so easily hooked on miraa, yet his parents failed to hook him on spinach.

Even more conspicuous is the question of how today’s average teenager can down a whole bottle of some cheap yet potent spirit and still manage to stagger home in one piece.

As we ponder over these matters, one might also wonder if a girl who spends a whole night fumigating her brains on shisha will ever find a suitor.

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