- Nacada also found that one in every six Kenyans aged between 15 and 65 (4.73 million people) is currently using at least one drug.
- Of this number, males in the same age group accounted for 3.78 million compared to their female counterparts at 949,298.
Drug abuse has always been there, but the question is why is there a sudden increase in its abuse among the youth?
We see so many youths on social media posting themselves with their friends engaging in drugs while at home, school or even in clubs.
The drugs used include alcohol, weed, shisha, pills, khat and tobacco.
“The most abused drugs recently are alcohol and tobacco,” Nacada stated in its 2023 quarterly report.
The report showed that persons between the ages of 25-35 are the biggest consumers followed closely by those between 15-24 years.
Nacada also found that one in every six Kenyans aged between 15 and 65 (4.73 million people) is currently using at least one drug.
Of this number, males in the same age group accounted for 3.78 million compared to their female counterparts at 949,298.
The report further shows that children are being introduced to drugs at a very early age, as early as six years.
In an interview with the Star, some youth shared their view on why there is a high uptake of drug abuse among Kenyan youth.
Michelle Mackenzie said she started drinking alcohol when she joined campus purely out of curiosity.
“I wanted to know what the hype was about little did I know my curiosity would lead me to problems,” she said.
Mackenzie said it’s been four years now and she cannot function without alcohol.
“Whenever I try to forgo alcohol my hands begin shaking and am afraid am beyond help,” Mackenzie said.
Douglas Maina said that he got into drug abuse due to peer pressure and the urge to fit in.
“My friend used to say try it you won’t die, why are you being so boring” but I would always refuse. When I was constantly told that it got to my head and I did not want to be considered uncool I started doing drugs but later I realized I didn’t like what I was doing so I went to rehabilitation and now am all good," Maina said.
Ricky Wilson* said he started drinking as a way of escaping reality as well as his emotions.
“My dark reality was how messed up my life at home was, my parents fought all the time and they would direct their anger and frustration towards me which would make my life pretty much unbearable,” he said.
Wilson added he would drink alcohol and smoke weed which would help him feel happy even though the happiness was temporary.
“Once I realized that I got depressed and took even pills, my friend realized how terrible my situation was and took me to rehabilitation and right now am slowly recovering,” Wilson said.
Mary Anne* on her part said she struggled with the habitual use of weed.
Anne said she started smoking while in campus out of peer influence.
“I used to tell my friends I couldn’t smoke because of asthma. But one of them insisted that she had asthma as well but the smoking cured her. That is how it started,” Anne said.
She said she smoked for three years, almost daily before she decided to stop.
“Anytime I got emotional I would smoke. I smoked before eating, before showering even when I started my internship. I felt everything was just easier when I was high,” she said.
“I would find myself craving weed. It took a lot of self-control to stop. I used to struggle with my appetite when I stopped. I became restless at night as well. It was not easy.”