National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) has operationalised the first public rehabilitation centre for drug addicts in the coastal city of Mombasa.
The centre known as ‘Miritini Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre’ was established following a presidential directive that saw the transformation of the former National Youth Service (NYS) station in Miritini area of Mombasa into a drug rehabilitation centre managed by NACADA.
The newly built public centre in the seaside city offers free drug treatment and rehabilitation services for recovering substance users.
Drug rehabilitation is the process of medical or psychotherapeutic treatment for dependency on psychoactive substances such as alcohol, prescription drugs, and street drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, heroin or amphetamines.
According to NACADA Coast Regional Manager George Karissa, the new full rehab centre offering hope for drug addicts provides both outpatient and inpatient programmes.
Karissa says opening of the rehabilitation centre comes at a time when alcohol, drug and substance abuse and trafficking are on the rise in the region leading to deaths and drug-related mental health illnesses.
“The NACADA board has spent Sh20 million in 2019 to set up the Miritini Rehab Centre at a time the coastal region grapples with soaring drug use” said Karissa during an interview with KNA.
He revealed that NACADA is also putting up a Sh87 million multipurpose hall, kitchen and dining hall.
Karissa said the Miritini Rehab Centre operates under international standards of drug-use prevention and that recovering users are released to their families.
He said treatment includes medication for depression or other disorders, counseling by experts and sharing of experience with other addicts.
“Once we release them back to the society we ask their families and friends to follow up on them to ensure they do not start socialising again with drug users and run the risk of relapse” he said.
The NACADA regional official said treating addiction and committing to a de-addiction programme could save your lives.
He said the anti-drug agency is scaling up its activities in the coastal counties of Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu to cope with rising rates of addiction.
The coastal counties have been grappling with a growing drug problem for decades and continue to be a challenge for the authorities.
“This new centre will not only provide services to residents in Mombasa but people across the coastal region,” he said adding the aim of the rehabilitation centre is to get the addicted back to normal healthy life and bring happiness to their families as well.
Local stakeholders opine that poverty, ease of access to drugs and high unemployment rate has fueled the increase.
Karissa has expressed concern that the rate of hard drug use such as cannabis, heroin and cocaine among the youth in the region has assumed a worrisome dimension despite persistent campaigns against the vice.
The NACADA regional boss says the outpatient programme currently has 270 clients on methadone (a powerful drug used for pain relief and treatment of drug addiction).
“Out of the 270 outpatients weaning themselves off addiction 248 are male while 22 are female ranging from the ages of 23 to 67 years old” he said.
“For the inpatient programme we have 40 clients on board (34 males and six females) and they are undergoing a comprehensive three months rehabilitation programme and so far 100 inpatients have been treated and successfully discharged,” he said.
Karissa stressed on the need for relevant stakeholders to join hands with NACADA to aggressively tackle drug and substance abuse among the young generation.
“Due to its prevalence, drug abuse among the youth is a time bomb waiting to detonate with devastating consequences if more concerted efforts are not adopted to address this societal vice,” he said.
Karissa said NACADA in the region is collaborating with community leaders on awareness creation programmes and targeted interventions about the drug menace as the ‘main goal is prevention’.
By Hussein Abdullahi