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Mt Kenya leaders urged to empower youths in the fight against alcoholism

Closure of liquor outlets alone will not effectively deal with the menace of excessive alcoholism in the central region.

Executive Director of Ahadi Trust Kenya Stanley Kamau said efforts by leaders from the region should be directed in providing resources and empowering young people to have income generating ventures.

Dr Kamau said unemployment and lack of income sources has greatly contributed to excessive alcoholism and drug abuse among youth.

He lauded a forum which brought together leaders from the region to discuss alcoholism but said the leaders should work on programmes aimed to support the welfare of thousands of jobless youths.

Kamau spoke when his organisation donated posho-mills to a youth group from Kanyenyaini ward in Kangema and a women group from Wangu ward in Kiharu.

“Closure of bars may not bear much fruit in the fight against abuse of alcohol in this region. We don’t see bhang being sold openly but the problem of bhang abuse is still there. Even if bars are closed, drunkards will come up with other ways of getting the cheap illicit liquor,” Observed Dr Kamau.

He continued, “Leaders have a responsibility in initiating income generating programmes to make the young people busy and responsible and avoid abuse of sub-standard alcoholic drinks.”

The anti-jigger campaigner observed that there are many areas youth can be engaged in productive activities citing opportunities in the agricultural sector.

“Today we have donated a posho-mill to a youth group from Kangema and this will support the group in generating money. The young people are also engaged in supporting each other in farming among other activities to make money. These are activities we pray our youth to be engaged in so as to avoid abuse of alcohol and drugs,” he remarked.

Kamau challenged the government administrators and security agents to focus on fighting illicit and counterfeit liquor which is said to pose health risks to consumers.

“Production of substandard and illicit liquor needs to be stopped. Let only genuine alcoholic drinks be stocked in shelves. Illicit brews are also contributing to excess alcoholism in this part of the country,” he added.

Kanyenyaini MCA Grace Nduta who was present said the group of youth from her ward is composed of reformed alcoholic addicts.

She observed that abuse of alcoholism in her ward has been a big problem especially among young men.

“The fight against alcoholism needs an inclusive approach and should focus more in supporting these young men to be responsible members of the family. As leaders, we will work with various organizations to support those addicted so that they can get healed and reform to be productive and responsible people,” she added.

By Bernard Munyao

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