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Reformed drug addicts decry unemployment

A section of reformed drug addicts from Mombasa County have expressed fears of slipping back into the habit due to frustrations resulting from unemployment and idleness.

The addicts who fully recovered after going through a rehabilitation programme have decried that lack of employment opportunities may drive them back to drug abuse due to idleness and desperation.

Abdallah Abdulkadir, 32 years-old from Old Town Mombasa told Kenya News Agency that after five years of recovering from drugs, he is still grappling with unemployment despite having electrical and fishing skills.

He said many organizations helped them to kick out the habit but failed to offer a long term and sustainable future plans on how the former addicts will be kept engaged to avert possible relapses.

“We are asking for support from the government and private organizations to at least help us get livelihood skills or capital to start businesses if not employment, just to help us not get back to the system,” he said.

Hussein Swaleh who has used cocaine, bhang and illicit brew (changaa) for almost 17 years said it was hard for him to recover because of idleness that caused him to almost revert.

“The government should include us in menial jobs for the youths because idleness has led to most of the recovering addicts to relapse,” said Swaleh.

National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) Director Mrs. Farida Rashid called on leaders to put drug addicts in their development initiatives and build technical centers where recovering drug addicts can be trained on livelihood skills.

Rashid said that NACADA has a rehabilitation Centre at Miritini area in Mombasa County but that is not enough because there are many drug addicts in the county that cannot fit in the Centre.

“If the idea of creating self-employment to recovering drug addicts is implemented by our leaders, it will be good because it will help in the rehabilitation of drug addicts. The Coast region has a high number of youths being wasted away by drugs and need well equipped rehabilitation Centres,” she said.

Kaswar Mubarak, who was abandoned by his family for stealing from them in order to buy drugs, said that he is now in rehab but would wish to get busy once done with the recovering process.

Abdallah Abdulkadir abandoned his job as an electrician due to drug abuse, leaving his wife and child stranded.

He said that his life as an addict was difficult as he can recall, not once or twice he was beaten up for pickpocketing.

“I got saved by police several times from being lynched by an angry mob, I then decided enough is enough and I want to get back to my former life where I will be a respectable man once again,” narrated Abdulkadir.

By Chari Suche

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