Kwale County Governor Salim Mvurya has called for concerted effort in the fight against drug abuse and trafficking of illicit substances.
Governor Mvurya called on key stakeholders such as government, civil society and private sector to better coordinate efforts to fight the illicit drugs menace.
Mvurya said such efforts should be focused on public awareness campaigns, psychological treatment of drug addicts and re-integration of recovering addicts into the society.
He called on relevant stakeholders to make concerted efforts towards ending drug abuse among the youth in the coastal counties of Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi and Lamu where the drug abuse has reached worrisome levels.
Mvurya said his administration through the Department of Social Services and talent management has opened avenues for the youth through the creation of awareness as well as providing life skill training aimed at reducing their involvement in drugs.
The Governor said his administration has built centers of excellence in the five sub counties of Kwale to engage the youths in different programs thus making them stay focused in life.
Mvurya said that there are a lot of programmes under the talent management ministry that fully engaged the youths so that they may not fall into the drug addiction trap.
“We have built centers of excellence in each sub county where the youths come and engage in different learning programs. This shall help to keep them busy and focused thus have no time for drugs,” he said.
The county boss said the damage caused to society by the use of illicit drugs and other banned substances could not be fathomed and called on addicts to acknowledge their situation and seek help.
Mvurya spoke in his office when he received the National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) Board of Directors in his office led by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Victor Okiema.
Mvurya has assured NACADA of full support saying that his administration has always treated the drug abuse challenge in the society as a priority.
He said the Kombani Methadone Center, which is the only public drug rehabilitation unit in Kwale County, has continued to offer hope to hundreds of recovering drug addicts.
Mvurya said the drug rehabilitation centre was started by the devolved unit in 2017 and that the number of those seeking treatment has been steadily increasing.
However, Mvurya said the county government has already identified a site at Kinondo in Msambweni sub-county where the next drug rehabilitation centre would be constructed.
“As a devolved unit, we are coming up with new rehab centres because we fully understand the damage and destruction that addiction to drugs does to our young population,” he said adding that the rehab centres are dedicated to treating and rehabilitating drug addicts.
He added that there is another privately run centre at Ukunda Township (Teens watch) where methadone (a powerful drug used for pain relief and treatment of drug addiction) is being given to the recovering addicts.
“We have worked closely with NACADA at the methadone clinic and at our rehabilitation center both situated at Kombani to ensure that our affected youth are well treated and accepted back to the society,” he said.
“At the moment, 25 clients are receiving the rehabilitation services while 1029 are taking methadone,” he said.
Mvurya urged parents to re-strategise their mode of parenting and pay more attention to the upbringing of their children to curb the menace of hard drug addiction in the region.
He said hard drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, kuber, heroin or amphetamines destroy destinies and render users useless in life.
On his part, NACADA CEO Okiema appreciated the county government for the good partnership in dealing with the challenge of drug abuse in society.
He also acknowledged the devolved unit for the Kombani rehabilitation centre and urged the Mvurya administration to map other areas to build more facilities.
Okiema advised drug addicts to approach public health institutions for help in kicking out the dangerous craving for drugs and other harmful substances.
“Drug addicts in the coastal region should not be clueless of where to turn to for help in fighting the debilitating addiction,” Okiema said.
By Hussein Abdullahi