Alcohol most abused drug at work places – Matiang'i

Situation in work places is even more worrying as findings from among employees in public sector institutions show

In Summary

• There was also evidence of abuse of heroin and cocaine.

• Cannabis remains the drug of choice amongst all groups even as the country.

Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiangi at a past event.
Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiangi at a past event.
Image: FILE

The most abused drug in the country among the general population (15-65 years) is alcohol, a survey has shown.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i said alcohol abuse’ preference stands at 12.2 per cent followed by tobacco at 8.4 per cent, Miraa/Muguka at 4.2 per cent and cannabis at one per cent.

He said a survey done by the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) revealed that the situation in work places is even more worrying.

Findings from among employees in public sector institutions in 2021 showed that alcohol is the most abused drug with a preference rate of 23.8 per cent followed by tobacco at 4.8 per cent, Miraa at 2.9 per cent and cannabis at 1.9 per cent among others.

He said there is a growing problem with drug abuse and illicit trafficking having permeated every sphere of society.

The CS added that another survey in 2016 among Secondary School Students demonstrated that schools have not been spared from the drug scotch as alcohol was noted to be the most abused substance at a preference rate of 3.8 per cent followed by prescription drugs at 3.6 per cent, miraa/muguka at 2.6 per cent, tobacco at 2.5 per cent and cannabis 1.8 per cent.

There was also evidence of abuse of heroin and cocaine at a preference rate of 0.2 percent, he said.

However, the narrative changes in Primary Schools as the survey conducted in 2019 indicated that prescription drugs are the most abused at 7.2 per cent followed by tobacco at 3.2 per cent, alcohol at 2.6 per cent and miraa/muguka at 2.3 per cent.

Cannabis remains the drug of choice amongst all groups even as the country has recorded evidence of new substances as reported in 2020 survey on emerging drugs whose report was launched.

Matiang'i said despite the proven negative consequences of illicit drug trade, there is a steady increase in the consumption of drugs as well as emergence of new trends that have changed global drug strategies and priorities.

He termed the trend worrying as the country has very few credible rehabilitation centres to meet the growing demand for these services.

“Of great concern is the fact that about 90 per cent of the existing rehabilitation facilities are privately owned and inaccessible to most Kenyans due to the fees charged.”

The Interior CS called on County Governments to appreciate the responsibilities vested on them by the Constitution on issues of drug control and invest their resources in prevention programmes and to put up more public rehabilitation facilities to address the growing problem of Substance Use Disorders and related mental illnesses.

He told concerned parties to suppress production, trafficking and consumption of illicit alcohol and drugs.

He further asked the agencies to embrace the One-Government approach in addressing the country’s drug problem and build synergies among the various responsible ministries, departments and agencies so as to create positive impact in effort to counter the challenge of alcohol and drug abuse.

He spoke on June 26, during commemoration of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (IDADA) whose team was– ‘Addressing drug challenges in health and humanitarian crises’.

The commemoration provides nations with an opportunity to reflect on the negative effects of drug trafficking and abuse in the community, evaluate the measures taken to address specific challenges and to formulate innovative and evidence-based strategies to respond to the emerging trends on drug abuse.

The CS said persons affected by humanitarian emergencies such as war, drought, pandemics such as Covid-19, homelessness, unemployment and other unpleasant circumstances are more vulnerable to alcohol and drug abuse and therefore prone to Substance Use Disorders.

“They tend to find solace in drugs while others are taken advantage of by drug barons to peddle drugs with the risk of arrests and even death,” he said.

He underscored the need to address the plight of disadvantaged persons, in their various settings, by empowering them with knowledge and skills and, providing them with care and support services.

According to the World Drug Report published by the UNODC in 2021, about 275 million people, which translates to about 5.5 per cent of the global population aged 15–64 years, have used drugs at least once in their lifetime.

Out of these, about 36.3 million persons are estimated to suffer from drug use disorders thereby requiring treatment and rehabilitation.

In addition, there has been a global shift from traditional substances to new psychoactive substances, synthetic drugs including non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs.

The new substances are easily accessible, more potent and have far-reaching effects.

The CS said Nacada is implementing a ‘Work Place ADA Programme’ to build professional’s capacity to identify and respond to drug abuse in the work place.

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star
WATCH: The latest videos from the Star