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Abuse of Alcohol and drug termed as major cause of mental illness

People  addicted to alcoholism and those who abuse other forms of drugs are said to exhibit symptoms of mental illness.

The  NACADA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Victor  Okiomo has said increased cases of mental illness in the country could be attributed to addiction to alcoholism and substance abuse.

He  said out of 18.2 percent of people who abuse drugs, 12 percent of them were addicted to alcohol and have signs of mental illness.

Speaking  in Murang’a on Friday, Okioma said availability of drugs and uncontrolled distribution of alcohol has led to many people indulging in drug and alcohol abuse.

The  CEO said that young people were introduced to alcoholism and drugs by people close to them including parents.

He noted that at this time bars are closed as a way to control spread of covid-19, some people have opted to take alcohol in their homes thus exposing their children to liquor.

“Young children may be exposed to drinking alcohol after witnessing their parents taking it at home. Parents need to be role models for their children and avoid early exposure of their young ones to drugs,” he noted.

Okioma who toured a facility that was used by Murang’a county government to rehabilitate addicts for three years, challenged devolved governments to come up with strict measures of controlling distribution of alcohol.

“We have a serious challenge of alcoholism. I appeal to the county government to take serious measures of control of alcoholism through licensing. The devolved units can help to reduce availability of alcohol through reducing the number of bars and monitor operations of authorized bars,” said Okioma.

The CEO said the central region is leading in abuse of alcoholism and observed that NACADA would partner with counties within the region to work out ways of controlling distribution and abuse of alcohol.

Okioma  said they would be available to support devolved units in rehabilitation services and deploy trainers and materials to help those addicted shun the behaviour of abusing alcohol.

He asked members of the public to seek rehabilitation services only at facilities certified by NACADA, saying they were many mushrooming rehabilitation centres which lacked capacity to offer effective services.

Speaking at the same occasion, the Murang’a County Member of Health and Sanitation, Joseph Mbai said they would resume rehabilitation services within a period of one month.

He noted that due to the threat of covid-19, they would admit few people in their facility located in the Kambirwa area of Murang’a.

“The county government is working to offer rehabilitation services and we will follow Covid 19 guidelines as we embark to admit addicts who need treatment,” noted Mbai.

The  Murang’a County Commissioner (CC), Mohammed Barre on his part asked people from the county to think of other business enterprises instead of investing in bars among other liquor outlets.

Barre said many people in the central region considered opening bars only thinking the business has more profit than others.

“The business of choice of local people here in Murang’a is a bar. Abuse of alcohol and bhang has contributed to an increase of crime rate. We will embark on a crackdown of illegal liquor outlets in the county,” stated the CC.

By  Bernard Munyao

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