More than 200 men from Nyeri central struggling with alcohol and drug addiction are set to benefit from free rehabilitation courtesy of the office of the Nyeri Deputy County Commissioner, Joseph Mwangi.
According to the senior DCC, the initiative was in support of Kenya’s Second Lady Dorcas Gachagua’s boy child empowerment campaign.
Mwangi noted that the beneficiaries will first be taken through counseling sessions which will be undertaken with the help of religious leaders before being admitted to the Ihururu and Karia rehabilitation centres for treatment.
“There are those who are willing to stop abusing drugs and there are those who will need help. Enrollment into the rehabilitation centres will be voluntary. In addition to the free treatment, the men will also receive artisan skills training in the course of their rehabilitation to ensure that they have a fall back plan when they get discharged,” said Mwangi.
A survey of drugs and substance abuse in Kenya released in March this year shows that over 4.7 million Kenyans abuse at least one substance with men forming the majority of abusers. Out of this number, 3.1 million consume alcohol with 2.3 million Kenyans using tobacco.
The survey showed that while Western Kenya topped in use of alcohol across the country, Central Kenya topped in the prevalence of current use of portable second-generation spirits.
Last year, the Second Lady announced plans to introduce nationwide empowerment programs for the boy child. The program would include support for the boy child without professional training to undertake Technical and Vocational Education and Training courses, to enable them have access to employment opportunities or self-employment.
The initiative will, in addition, support young men to actualize their talents in sports and other creative fields like arts, through training and linking them to opportunities.
Mwangi also said that a plan was in the offing to register the reformed addicts into groups to help them get loans from the Uwezo fund and set up businesses as a way of discouraging them to drift back to addiction.
“Most of these men are well educated but have turned to alcoholism due to lack of employment. As a government we are thinking of ways of helping these men get employed or set up their own businesses. This can be realised if they are able to organize themselves into groups which will then be registered and they can start benefiting from the Uwezo Fund loans,” he stated.
By Wangari Mwangi and Joyce Kiragu