NACADA touts new tactic to fight drug abuse

December 21, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 21 – The National Agency for the Campaign against Drug Abuse (NACADA) says it is urgent for Kenya to shift its focus on the fight against drug abuse, to suppliers.

National Coordinator Jennifer Kimani has said that more emphasis needs to be put in tackling the supply chain of these drugs as opposed to consumption.

Ms Kimani observed that it is wrong to concentrate on punishing drug abusers, while the suppliers who are the main cause of the problem almost go unnoticed.

“Because even as the abusers go through treatment and rehabilitation, as long as the temptations are high with the supply all over, it is not easy for them to say no because they are already sick,” she said.

The National Coordinator added: “That’s why we are saying they are victims and therefore we would wish that the police even while dealing with them concentrate more on those who are trafficking the drugs, other than the users.”
While reiterating on the need to shift focus, NACADA chairman Frank Njenga noted that drug users are victims who need to be protected by the law.

“There is the misconception that the user is the criminal. The user is the victim and once we adjust our mindset as a nation into that direction we will be able to educate our people appropriately. So that our criminal justice system is appropriately geared towards punishing those who are perpetrating the vice while putting in place strategies that protect the innocent bystanders from the effects of this supply issue,” he said.

Meanwhile, the body is cautioning the public to exercise greater responsibility in alcohol consumption during the festive season.

Dr Njenga revealed that the issue of underage drinking becomes particularly worrisome during this season, and went further to caution parents to be more responsible around children and the youth during Christmas festivities.

“Our concern at this time of festivities is parents who take their children with them to all these wild parties and start encouraging their little ones ‘ata wewe kunywa kadogo’ (even you drink a little bit) in the ignorant belief that teaching children how to use alcohol at an early age in itself is a good thing.”

Ms Kimani pointed out that statistics indicate alcohol is currently the most abused drug in the country.

“Most drug abusers start by using tobacco for example because it’s socially acceptable. Then they graduate to alcohol and combine the two and probably realise the combination is not giving them the kick they are looking for. They are then told in the market that there is something they are looking for, so they graduate further to cannabis and heroine,” she uttered.

Ms Kimani disclosed that alcoholism is a big problem in the country and pointed out that there was overwhelming evidence that suffering related to alcohol and drug consumption plus the resulting addiction or dependence, supersedes all other problems, even those related to HIV/AIDS.


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