Coast Regional Commissioner (RC), John Elungata, has promised a crackdown on drug use, following a Report by National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) which listed the region to be on a high prevalence of drug use.
According to the Report, the Coast region has a prevalence of 34.4 percent which is higher than the national one of 18.2 percent.
The Region has a high use of tobacco by 14.9 percent, followed by alcohol which is 12.2 percent; bang 4.5 percent and heroine 2.3 percent. These figures have surpassed the national prevalence.
The Coast Administrator said that the government is very alert and won’t sit and watch as the region deteriorates, following a high number of mental health illnesses, which he attributed to drug abuse.
Elungata said that Mombasa has become a hub for all kind of illegal drugs. “The Government has made a milestone by reducing bang use in some parts of the island,” said Elungata.
The RC said that the government through the security agencies carried out raids and confiscated a lot of bang in the region.
“It has been our daily work to fight against drugs on these streets. Last week, 11 boys were beaten by older people at Frere Town in Mombasa, after they were caught smoking marijuana. So far, the community has accepted that their children are now using drugs and they have joined hands with police, to curb the immorality,” added Elungata.
He said the Coast Region being a recreational center, has become a hub for drugs, since people have linked leisure and drug abuse. Drugs are being trafficked from other parts of the country to Mombasa for people to enjoy.
Elungata stressed that mental health illness will be dealt with properly, if drug use is eliminated completely.
“Now pangas by young gangs are over and this is because we dealt with bhang use, which was the main reason why young boys were taking part in criminal activities. This is an example that we can eliminate mental health illness, following the efforts the government is doing,” he said.
The RC urged leaders to invest more on sports in the region, saying it’s one way to divert youths against drugs.
Elungata said that there are few stadiums and playgrounds in the region asking the local leadership to focus on increasing play centers.
NACADA Chairperson, Professor Mabel Imbuga, said that some of the efforts the government has put in place to curb drug use is putting up a rehabilitation center that helps in treating drug addicts.
Imbuga added that there is also a multiagency team formed to crack down illicit brews and close bars that sell harmful alcohol.
“NACADA has partnered with Non-governmental organizations in the treatment of drug addicts and mental health patients. We now urge Mombasa residents to embrace the Rehabilitation Center the government has set up in the County,” she said.
National Youth Council Chairman, Roy Sasaka, said that the Council noted that since last year, the rate of mental health among young people has increased as most of them lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
“Drug abuse can lead to death if not mental illness. It is not right for us to lose young people which we can save, if we do something. As a representative of the youth, I urge all the stakeholders on drug related matters to come together and talk about mental health illness,” said Sasaka.
By Chari Suche