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Drug Abuse among youth on the rise, experts say



Veteran Psychologist Dr. Frank Njenga has sounded the warning bells on the rising cases of drug abuse among the youth in Kenya.


Dr. Frank Njenga, who is also the Director of National Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NACADA), says the number of accidents in Nairobi increases drastically over the weekends, particularly Friday and Saturday nights.


“This is a result of an increase in the number of drunk drivers on the road,” said Dr. Njenga.


With the rising alcohol abuse, the country is incurring high costs in injuries and property loss.


“Kenyatta National Hospital is spending Ksh.10million every week to treat victims of road accidents,” said CEO Richard Lesiyampe. He cited careless and drunk driving as the root cause.


Mr. Lesiyampe asked the police to reintroduce alcohol detectors to reduce this menace.


NACADA says besides alcohol, bhang and tobacco are the most abused substances in Kenya.


Joseph Kaguthi, the coordinator of (NACADA) says a lot of young people are introduced to drugs before the age of 30 years.


“The abuse rate shoots up from around age 10 to 14. The highest increase occurs between the ages of 14 and 30 years.”


He explained that for tobacco, the first five puffs are enough to set one on the road to nicotine addiction. Worse still, cigarette, as a product, carries 4,029 different chemicals, 40 of which have been confirmed to cause cancer.


“Besides the most commonly abused substances, young people abuse psychotropic, as well as narcotic drugs. Research shows that psychotropic drugs are introduced to 37 percent of people aged between 10 and 14 years and nearly 75 percent of those aged below 19 years,” says Mr. Kaguthi.


Many campus students get involved in drug use and abuse. The weekends tend to be the best time to go to night clubs. Many lives are put at risk when the youth drive to and from clubs under the influence.


“My friends and I like to party on the weekends. It helps release stress, especially after a long week,” said Linda Kuria, a student at a local university.


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