Devolution derails war on drugs, says Nacada boss

More bars and liquor outlets than schools since devolution and counties took over licensing in 2013

In Summary

• County officials greedy,  don't care about victims and focus on revenue from bars and liquor stores. 

• Alcohol is the most abused

Devolution has derailed fight on drugs and substance abuse, says NACADA boss.
NACADA chairperson Julius Githiria(in white shirt) in Lamu on Wednesday. Devolution has derailed fight on drugs and substance abuse, says NACADA boss.

Most counties have more bars, liquor dens and stores than schools, Nacada officials said in Lamu yesterday.

They further said devolution has hurt the war against drugs and alcohol since counties are greedy for revenue, thus generous in issuing liquor licences.

Nacada chairperson Julius Githiria said there has been a mushrooming of bars and liquor outlets across the country since counties took over licensing in 2013.

"People are focussing on revenue generation. It's shameful that counties have more bars than schools. It portrays a lost society. We want counties onboard so we can straighten this out,” he said.

He blamed the county governments for issuing trade licences to dealers without conducting the required checks.

A 2017 national survey by the agency showed 18.2 per cent of Kenyans have used one form of drug or the other. This translates into 3.2 million people.

Alcohol is the most abused, the report showed. 

Githiria appealed to county licensing officers to stop prioritising revenue by creating dens of illicit brews that ruin society.

He said the public must be involved in all decision-making when licenses.

Counties don’t seem to care about the effects of drugs and alcohol, he said, and that alcohol and drug abuse was a major impediment to the country’s socioeconomic development.


Githiria saiedNacada has conducted regular inspections of centres intending to undertake treatment and rehabilitation of alcohol and drug abuse patients.

It has also established guidelines for infrastructure and technical requirements that a centre must attain to be credited as an addiction, treatment and rehabilitation facility.

Edited by Eliud Kibii and V. Graham