4.9m Kenyans abusing alcohol and drugs, high schools a haven - Nacada

Heroin addicts prepare it for use in Lamu County, November 21, 2014. /REUTERS
Heroin addicts prepare it for use in Lamu County, November 21, 2014. /REUTERS

Nacada has reported that 4.9 million Kenyans aged 15 – 65 years are abusing at least one drug or other substance.

The

National Campaign Against Drug Abuse Authority released a report on Tuesday following a survey of the status of

drug and substance abuse in 2017.

Nacada said that

Eastern, Nairobi, Coast and Western regions recorded increasing trends of alcohol and drug abuse.

"Alcohol use has been associated with the highest burden of substance use disorders (SUDs)," the report stated.

The authority said that 1.1 million Kenyans in the same age group are using miraa/ khat while 2.2 million are using tobacco.

“Another disturbing finding is that Eastern has transformed from being a supplier to a major consumption market for khat/ miraa."

Also notable was an upsurge in the consumption of busaa and chang’aa in Western.

Nacada added that this region recorded the highest prevalence of alcohol consumption by

youths aged 15 -24 and adolescents aged 10 – 14 years

The survey also found that 3.1 per cent, or 836,872, of Kenyans aged 15 – 65 years have miraa/ khat use disorders.

Nacada raised the concern that secondary schools

are not drug-free environments and that bars and dens are located near schools.

For lifetime use, it found that

23.4 percent (508,132) have ever used alcohol in their lifetime,

17 percent

(369,155)

khat/

miraa, 16.1 percent

(349,613) prescription drugs,

14.5 percent

(314,869) tobacco,

7.5 percent (162,863) bhang/ cannabis,

2.3 percent

(49,945) inhalants such as glue and petrol, 1.2 percent

(26,058) heroin and

1.1 percent

(23,887) cocaine.

For currently use, Nacada said 3.8 percent

(82,517) are on alcohol,

3.6 percent

(78,175)

khat/

miraa,

2.6 percent

(56,459) prescription drugs,

2.5 percent

(54,288) tobacco,

1.8 percent

(39,087) bhang/ cannabis,

0.6 percent

(13,029) inhalants,

0.2 percent

(4,343) heroin and

0.2 percent

(4,343) cocaine.

“The age between 13 and 15 years present the most critical period for students in secondary schools to initiate substance abuse. This age marks the period of transition from primary schools," the authority noted.

Nacada also noted that fewer Kenyans

abused drugs and alcohol in 2017 and placed the

number at

3.2 million of those aged 15 to 65.

The organisation also reported that the enforcement of Alcoholic Drinks Control Act, 2010 and County Alcoholic Drinks Control Act was inadequate.

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