Alarm as private schools in Mombasa slums turn into drug dens

 A drug addict injects heroin into her veins.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

A number of private schools in slum areas in Nyali and Kisauni sub-counties within Mombasa county have been turned into drug dens by drug-addicted youths, the Nation has established.

This comes as more school-going children are reported to be abusing drugs. Stakeholders in the fight against drug abuse have warned parents to be watchful as cases of school-going children abusing drugs have been reported.

The stakeholders warned that the fight against drug abuse has been hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Daily Nation saw a handful of youths smoking bhang while others were busy injecting themselves with cocaine and heroin.  Most of the addicts appeared to be between 12 and 17 years old and were seen sleeping in class because they were high on drugs.  

Methadone is a substitute drug for heroin. It reduces withdrawal symptoms in people addicted to heroin or other narcotic drugs without causing the ''high'' associated with the addiction.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has been funding the methadone programme to help the Kenya government fight heroin withdrawal symptoms.

“We have realised that many school-going children are abusing drugs. This is a sad state of affairs; we must end the vice,” said Mr Edison Mwambogo from Omari project, a non-governmental organisation rehabilitating drug addicts in Malindi.

A Mombasa human rights activist, Mr Julius Ogogoh, urged the government to resolve the crisis.

“Schools in slum areas have been turned into drug dens; parents should be watchful. Our children are turning into zombies after abusing drugs, we will lose this generation. The children have been idling at home,” he warned.

Recovering drug-addicted youths

This comes as Coast regional coordinator John Elungata ordered the closure of Freretown methadone centre where more than 1,000 recovering drug-addicted youths are treated.
Mr Elungata said the drug addicts have been luring schoolgoing children into drug abuse.

“This facility must be relocated from Freretown to Miritini because of its proximity to a school. It is dangerous for our children to be close to such a place, as they are traumatised by the drug addicts,” Mr Elungata warned.

Mombasa County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo said Freretown Primary School is in danger since the addicts use the institution to make rolls of bhang and sell the same.

“They are using this school to hide. We will deploy the police to ensure the addicts stop using this institution as their hideout and luring our children into drug abuse,” he said.
He said many children have turned into drug abuse because of the influence of the addicts at the methadone centre.