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Nacada raises alarm over use of bhang by Kenyans

Monday, February 12th, 2024 02:00 | By
Justice and Legal Affairs committee chair William Cheptumo at a past event. PHOTO/Samuel Kariuki
Justice and Legal Affairs committee chair William Cheptumo at a past event. PHOTO/Samuel Kariuki

The National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) has raised a red flag over the rise in the use of bhang in the country.


Speaking during a night raid in bhang dens in Mtwapa, Kilifi county, Nacada chief executive Anthony Amerikwa regretted that consumption of the illegal substance has risen by 90 percent in the past five years becoming a major concern.


“Consumption of bhang in the last five years has gone up by 90 percent, and this is based on 2022 research, nearly a million Kenyans are using cannabis sativa that is one in every 53 people are using this drug in the country,”said Amerikwa.


Two people were arrested during the raid led by Nacada at a private residence in Mtwapa which authorities believe has been a depot for substance. The two who were arrested at Kwa Gowa area, in Mtwapa one was a customer and the other one was among the caretakers of the residence.


“We have apprehended two suspects with 435 rolls and assorted brooms of Cannabis sativa, one we suspect is the distributor the other one is the consumer and we have also apprehended his mode of conveying which is a motorbike, “confirmed Nacada the boss.

Operating illegally


Police attached to Nacada, acting on a tip off descended on the three bedroom house, where the huge consignment was hidden and undergoing packaging ready for distribution in the coastal region.


This is the second raid after a similar raid was conducted last month where several shisha dens which were operating illegally were shut down and owners charged in court.


“We have been able to get information that indeed these drugs are ferried all the way from Migori, we have leads of who transports it, and we are soon going to get them. We have started the investigations and we will soon arrest the suppliers,” he added.


The agency has intensified crackdown on all forms of drugs in the coastal region with the target of bringing to book the big drug barons. Consumption of heroin and other drugs has taken a toll on coastal youth for decades.


“The government’s stand on drugs is that the use of illegal drugs is not allowed, we will pursue these individuals to ensure this menace is addressed,” said Amerikwa, adding that parents and politicians should work together to eradicate the menace.


Omerikwa further said Nacada will not relent war on drugs and substance abuse to ensure the vice is wiped out.


He said they will work to ensure that alcohol and drug abuse is diminished to the extent that it is no longer a threat to society.


Last week, 10 people died from consuming expired alcohol. At least four others were reported blind after they consumed the chemical on Monday, officials said.


Latest data from Nacada reveals that Kenyans aged 15-65 years (518,807) are currently using cannabis, translating to a national prevalence rate of 1.9 per cent.


Disorders


The report dubbed ‘Status of Drugs and Substance Use (DSU) in Kenya, 2022’ says of this figure, 475,770 are male while 43,037 are female. It showed that a total of 193,430 youth aged 15 – 24 years (one in every 37) were currently using cannabis, translating to a 2.7 per cent prevalence. The figure for those aged 25 – 35 years stands at 174,142 (one in every 48) translating to a 2.1 per cent prevalence rate.


The data shows that overall, 234,855 Kenyans aged 15 – 65 years or one in every 111 are addicted to cannabis and exhibit severe substance use disorders.


The number of bhang addicts in the 15-24 age bracket stands at 90,531 (one in every 77); 25-35-year-olds is 100,468 or one in every 83, giving an overall addiction rate of 47.4 per cent.

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