Government Not Doing Enough To Curb Drug Abuse..My article in Today’s Standard page16

GOVERNMENT NOT DOING ENOUGH TO CURB DRUG ABUSE

 
       
 

The United Nations World Drug report released this week states that
Kenya and Tanzania are comparable with Libya, Mauritius and the
Seychelles in the use of narcotics with the amphetamines increasingly
finding their way into learning institutions.

This puts the government in a shameful position as it is a reflection
that it has not done enough to curb the vice.
It is so alarming that, use of amphetamines in secondary schools in
Nairobi was reported to be reaching almost three per cent with a
significant number of pupils reporting use of drugs within the past
six months.

Despite the stringent measures being put in place by the government,
the market for heroine in the country is expanding as evidenced by
increasing volume of seizures. In 2010 alone, heroine seizures
sky-rocketed from 8.5 kg the previous year to 35 kg in 2010 while in
Tanzania it increased from 7.9 to 191 kg in the same period.

The increasing incidents of Injecting Drug Users (IDUs) in the country
have also left the government in dilemma because of the high HIV/Aids
prevalence.
The National Aids Control Council, states that, there are about 26,000
youths in Mombasa who inject drugs, with at least one out of every
four being infected with HIV.

The report released annually also indicates that, Nairobi has 20,000
injecting youths and the practice is responsible for close to four per
cent of national HIV infections, with Coast Province having 17 per
cent of new infections on a yearly basis.

Even though Kenya has secured Sh 136 million from the Global Fund to
implement a three-year pilot project to provide the over 50,000
injectors with needles and syringes, the proposal has elicited strong
opposition from political and religious leaders from the Coast who say
that providing users with syringes will escalate the problem.

The secretary of the Coast Community Anti-Drugs Coalition Ms Amina
Abdalla has threatened to take legal action in case the government
implements the pilot project, arguing that, the provision of needles
would increase the demand for narcotics.

The same sentiments are being echoed by Dr Peter Cherutich who is the
head of the National AIDS and STI Control Programme who says they are
engaging the provincial administration, political, religious and
community leaders to explain to them the benefits brought along by the
proposed programme.

It is the responsibility of the government to take up an initiative of
joining forces with key stakeholders to fight drug abuse in this
nation instead of tying its hands in the water jar and assuming that
everything is alright.

Drug barons should be arrested and brought to book because they are
the source of all this troubles. In case the government fails to
arrest this situation, then it means that we are going to lose many
lives in the name of, drug abuse.

The time has come when the nation has to save its own people in a bid
to avoid universal embarrassment.
DENNIS LUBANGA, Nairobi.

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