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NACADA Urges Youth To Avoid Drugs, Citing Mental Health Risks

National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) Nyanza Regional Manager Esther Okenye has urged the youth to avoid drugs and other substances, warning that addiction could disrupt their long-term goals and pose various health risks.

According to a national survey on drug and substance use in Kenya, the prevalence of alcohol use in the Nyanza region is 6.3%, while bhang use stands at 2.4%, making Nyanza the second highest region in terms of consumption.

Ms. Okenye attributed the high prevalence of bhang in the region to its location along the sugar belt, where workers use the drug to endure long working hours, eventually leading to addiction.

Further, she noted that alcohol, particularly ‘chang’aa’, was more prevalent due to the availability of raw materials from the sugar industry.

Okenye highlighted that the fight against drug and substance use, especially ‘muguka’ has intensified in many regions, with Kilifi, Taita Taveta, and Mombasa counties banning it, and Kwale and Machakos considering similar measures.

‘Our role is to collaborate with county governments to enhance joint enforcement efforts to control drug and substance use,’ Okenye stated, emphasizing that while the World Health Organization classifies drugs, NACADA’s job is to work with governments to formulate policies to combat drug abuse.

Okenye said she believed that the abuse of Muguka and khat (miraa) is widespread because they are legal. ‘Making them illegal, despite being cash crops in the eastern region, will be the only solution,’ she suggested.

Her appeal comes as the world marks Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month of June.

Source: Kenya News Agency