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Drugs exhibit seized by police in August 2019. /FILE - DCI

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NACADA partners with KPA, Coast security forces to dismantle drug cartels

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 3 – The National Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) is working closely with the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and local administration to dismantle drugs cartels operating in the coastal region, where many youths’ lives have been destroyed.

The business is particularly thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic, when schools and colleges are closed, providing a ready market for the drug peddlers.

Drugs such as Cocaine, Heroine, Bhang among others are common in many parts of the coast, with reports indicating that they are easily available on the streets where peddlers target locals and foreigners, including tourists.

NACADA Board Chairperson Prof. Mabel Imbuga said they have partnered with the local administration to curb the menace that is blamed for more than 60 per cent of schools’ drop outs.

John Elungata, the Coast Regional Commander, said security forces will heavily rely on intelligence reports to track down the drug peddlers, including in the villages.

“We have information that some drug dealers have been taking advantage of the essential service provisions to ferry drugs within this region under the cover of darkness. They have been masquerading their activities as food delivery and deliberately ensure that they transport the drugs at night,” he said.

And he revealed that some of the peddlers are masquarading as essential service providers, disguising themselves as people out to deliver food while distrbuting drugs to their targets.

“We have information that some drug dealers have been taking advantage of the essential service provisions to ferry drugs within this region under the cover of darkness. They have been masquerading their activities as food delivery and deliberately ensure that they transport the drugs at night,” he said.

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NACADA has already set up a rehabilitation centre at Miritini.

To boost NACADA’s efforts, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) on Thursday donated Sh1 million to the centre to be utilized in rehabilitation and support programs.

NACADA Board Chairperson Prof. Imbuga said the organization is keen to ensure that the Miritini project positively contributes to the fight against alcohol and drug abuse, a major challenge affecting the youth in the region, and across the country.

“Our concern is the upsurge in drug abuse in our schools, institutions of learning and the workplace where productivity is undermined by addiction related absenteeism and reduced hours of productive work,” he said.

The center was established following a Presidential Directive in 2015 that saw the transformation of the previous Miritini National Youth Service Camp into a Drug Rehabilitation Centre to provide care and support to affected youths.

KPA Acting Managing Director Eng. Rashid Salim reiterated the need for treatment and after-care for persons with drug use disorders, noting that the vice has equally affected a section of the KPA staff.

“As an industry leader in the country and the Coast region, it is paramount we join hands to seek solutions to the myriad of challenges afflicting our community,” Eng. Salim said.

The Miritini center is currently handling 150 clients currently receiving a wide range of services including Counselling and Medically Assisted Therapy commonly known as Methadone.

The drug is administered daily, and on site, to wean off persons from the use of Heroin.

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Patients receive other general services including counselling, medication, HIV AIDS Testing and Counseling and Hepatitis B Testing.

As at December 2016 following a study commissioned by NACADA- Status of Drugs and Substance Abuse among the General Population in Kenya – the prevalence of multiple drugs and substance abuse among respondents aged between 15 and 65 years stood at 6 percent.

“Coast region is one of the most affected regions in the country as evidenced by the many young men in dens and streets,” the NACADA chairperson said.

NACADA has since announced plans of commissioning the in-patient wing at the facility by end of December to cater for the growing needs of persons with substance abuse disorders in the Coast Region.

The NACADA boss says they have partnered with county governments to establish 10 rehabilitation centers in efforts to make rehabilitation accessible and affordable to all Kenyans who need the services.

 The Authority has accredited over 100 rehabilitation facilities across various regions in the country.

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