The National Authority for the Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NACADA) has jointly commemorated the 35th International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (IDADA) at the Bomas of Kenya.
The State Department for Interior and National Administration, Principal Secretary (PS), Dr. Raymond Omollo, stated that in its 35th year, the International Day Against Drug and Illicit Trafficking (IDADA) commemoration provides nations with an opportunity to reflect on the negative effects of drug trafficking and abuse in the community.
The PS also lauded this year’s theme “People First: Stop Stigma and Discrimination,”, strengthening prevention as it focuses on the importance of treating people who abuse drugs with respect.
“In today’s world, kind words, empathy, care, and support will go a long way in mending broken hearts and dreams,” he said.
Omollo added that according to the World Drug Report published by the UNODC in 2022, about 284 million people, the majority of whom are men, have used drugs in their lifetime.
He also noted the shift from traditional substances to new psychoactive substances, synthetic drugs, and the non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs as they are affordable and easily accessible.
The PS added that the recently launched National Survey on the Drug Situation by NACADA estimated that 1 out of 6 Kenyans aged 15 to 65 are currently using at least one substance.
At the same time, Omollo stated that the Ministry, through NACADA, had designed several programs that seek to respond to the challenge of drug abuse in the country. He also urged the county Governments to appreciate the responsibilities vested on them by the constitution on issues of drug control.
The PS acknowledged the work of Civil Society Organisations as a key role in addressing the challenges of drug abuse, particularly in advancing prevention programs, treatment, and rehabilitation.
NACADA Board of Directors Chairperson Dr Stephen Mairori stated that the day provides an opportunity to take stock of the gains realized, outline challenges encountered, and collectively chart a way forward in the fight against drug abuse and drug trafficking.
Mairori added that in response to the growing challenge of alcohol and drug abuse in the country, NACADA, as the lead agency, has instituted a multi-sectoral approach that endures the participation of all key stakeholders who are drawn from the public sector, faith-based organizations, and other Civil Society Organizations.
“This approach is in cognizance of the fact that the challenge of alcohol and drugs cannot be handled by one single Agency owing to their multifaceted features and complexities that cut across all sectors,” Mairori said.
Mairori noted that while NACADA has received support from partners, it is never enough, and the drug problem both at the national and global levels is complex, hence the need for a vibrant and all-inclusive campaign.
He called for more partnerships and engagements at all levels in order to reach out to society on matters of drugs.
“I therefore call for more collaboration, engagement, and partnership at all levels. I invite all like-minded persons and organizations to partner with us in reaching out to all in society,” Mairori stated.
NACADA Attorney Prof. John Muteti said that there are new emerging substances that are potent and easily available, posing danger to people’s health and general wellbeing.
Muteti said that they are implementing key programmes aligned to international standards on prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation.
Muteti also stated that they are also working with other agencies to enhance enforcement and compliance, develop key policy documents, and propose appropriate legislation.
By Enrica Amisi and Lucy Gitei