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State steps up war on illicit brews, drug use in Nyanza

The government has stepped up measures to curb the illicit trade of alcohol and drugs in the Nyanza region.

This follows a resurgence of alcohol in sachets and the illegal trade of bhang and other substances in the area.

Nyanza Regional Commissioner (RC) Flora Mworoa said a multi-agency team has been established to crack down on individuals and unscrupulous businessmen engaged in the trade.

Mworoa said the drugs get to the region through the porous borders and Lake Victoria, adding that officials from the two countries have been incorporated into the team to curb the menace.

She said the Ministry of Interior, which is spearheading the exercise, has roped in the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to monitor the movement of people and goods through the lake.

“IOM is doing a good job. Last month they did a study on this issue, and we expect to meet in August to discuss the findings of their report,” she said.

She added that security agencies have been put on high alert to ensure that those involved in the illicit trade are brought to book.

“The Ministry of Interior is working very closely with the Kenya Coast Guard, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), and the Immigration Department to deal with this menace,” she said.

The RC said drug abuse continues to affect families in the area due to the illicit trade, adding that the majority of those addicted were youths.

Speaking during the International Day Against Drug Abuse (IDADA) celebrations at Karanda Primary School in Nyando Sub-County, Mworoa said stigma for drug addicts was the biggest challenge in rescuing those affected.

She urged families to embrace them and take them for treatment and rehabilitation to help win the war against drugs.

“So many people out here are addicted to drugs, but due to stigma, most families are unable to bring them out,” she said.

According to a survey carried out last year by NACADA in collaboration with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics and the Tobacco Control Board, the Nyanza region was ranked 4th in terms of alcohol and tobacco abuse.

NACADA representative Samson Onyango said the report also revealed that cases of illicit brews were high in the area, with children under six exposed to alcohol.

The agency, he said, was reaching out to parents and school-going children to reverse the tide.

Through partnership with the County Government of Kisumu, a rehabilitation centre has been established in the area and will soon open its doors to assist drug addicts.

By Chris Mahandara

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