A research done by the National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) has revealed that secondary schools in Kenya are not drug free.
According to the study, alcohol, prescription drugs, khat, tobacco and bhang are the most commonly abused drugs and substances with students initiated into use at a young age.
The research findings revealed that 80 per cent of students have knowledge of drugs commonly abused with alcohol at 41 per cent, khat at 32.6 per cent, cigarettes at 31per cent and prescription drugs at 30 per cent.
Nacada says that drugs were mainly used by students during school holidays placing the percentage at 49.5 per cent, on their way home at 35.1 per cent, within school environments on weekends at 30.4 per cent and during inter school meetings at 27. 8 per cent.
When asked about the sources of drugs the students identified friends at 32.2 per cent, carried from home, at 29.3 per cent, bought from other students at 25.7 per cent, bought from nearby bars at 22 per cent and from local brew dens at 23.7 per cent.
Data further shows that students have mostly abused alcohol at 23 per cent, followed by khat at 17 per cent, prescription drugs at 16.1 per cent, tobacco at 14.5 per cent, bang/marijuana at 7.5 per cent and inhalants at 2.3 per cent.
In a speech read on his behalf by Deputy Head of Public Service Wanyama Musiambo during the launch of the African Journal of Alcohol report by Nacada, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i confirmed that drug abuse was a threat to the youth today and vowed not to lose the war on substance abuse.
“We won’t lose the war against drugs for the sake of future generations. We will work with other stakeholders in this sector to make sure that this war is won,” he said.
Dr. Matiang’i further said that the government will continue fighting the war on drugs through public education and advocacy and prevention programmes in schools and the community.
“We will ensure that the public gets adequate knowledge on alcohol and substance abuse through consistent awareness campaigns,” Dr. Matiang’i said and added the government will also continue with regular crackdown on illicit brews and illegal drugs.
The Interior CS commended the move by NACADA to focus on prevention measures through Africa Journal for Alcohol and Drug Abuse (AJADA) and noted that evidence based preventions will boost informed decisions among people.
“There is need for continued research in science and evidence based prevention which serves as a platform of interaction especially among the youth and gives new insights on alcohol and drug abuse,” he said.
NACADA board chairman Julius Githiri, reiterated that NACADA’s role is to give facts on drugs and make sure the country is well informed through statistics and research.
“As a board we are excited that the journal has been widely accepted and we (NACADA) have partnered with other stakeholders to make the public aware of what is going on,” Githiri said.
Githiri also echoed the efforts that have been set by NACADA in conjunction with other government agencies including the ministry of interior to carry out surveillance and inspection around the country.
“I would like to thank the ministry of interior and the law enforcement agencies for the ongoing crackdown at the Coast, since the use of drugs impacts on the level of security and development in the country,” he added.
The study targeted a sample of 3,850 students which was rounded off to 4,000. It recorded a non-response rate of 4 per cent, with a total of 3,908 students being interviewed.
AJADA is a research based journal by NACADA with the aim of providing knowledge in alcohol and drug abuse and prevention measures.
By David Oriku and Ian Munjuga