Alcohol, bhang, tobacco and cigarettes have been ranked the most abused drugs and substances in Kajiado County.
A study by Okoyo Collins et al titled Prevalence, types, patterns and risk factors associated with drugs and substances of use and abuse: A cross-sectional study of selected counties in Kenya published on September 15, 2022, revealed that from a sample of 753 participants,206 participants (34.1 per cent) abused alcohol, 132 (21.9 per cent) abused cigarettes while 64 (10.6 per cent) and 23 (3.8 per cent) abused tobacco and bhang respectively.
The 753 participants were from: Bissil (217), Lenkishon (175) Loormongi (149), and Majengo Township (212).
The study generated data in the counties of Isiolo, Kajiado, Muranga and Nyamira all purposively selected from the 47 counties based on the review reports of the Kenya Medical Research Institute’s County Cluster Coordinators which indicated that drug and substance abuse was a priority health concern in the selected counties.
Qualitative data through in-depth interviews with 16 opinion leaders, 16 healthcare personnel, 16 previous drug and substance abuse persons, at least 5 county personnel, 32 current drug and substance abuse persons and through 16 focus group discussions were concurrently collected to elicit more information on types, patterns and causes of drug and substance abuse.
The research highlighted that majority of substance and drugs was found in retail outlets 41.4 per cent like kiosks, shops and supermarkets and entertainment establishment 24.0 per cent like clubs, pubs, bars, and restaurants.
Community not prioritizing education and children being sent to herd cattle, lack of parental supervision, peer pressure and idleness are some of the reasons that lead to drug and substance abuse among youth.
As a result of the high drug and substance abuse in the region, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua asked Kajiado County Commissioner Joshua Nkanatha to convene a security meeting to strategize on how to crack the whip on those abusing drugs.
Speaking during the homecoming and thanksgiving service of Principal Secretary State Department for Forestry Ephantus Kimotho in Ngong last month, Gachagua pointed out that the illicit brews have demolished the family structure.
Interior CS Kithure Kindiki also reiterated that his ministry is aligned and committed to wage a sustained war against the use of illicit brew and drug abuse of drugs in the country.
“Drugs and substances abuse is a problem that is likely to impair Kenya’s future in a big way if it not dealt with. Having profiled the problem of illicit alcohol and drug abuse among the top three national security threats, we will deal with it with the same vigour, focus, commitment and finality as we have invested in dealing with terrorism and banditry.” Kindiki said.
By Vostine Ratemo
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