Nacada changes tack in fight against drug abuse

Mabel Imbuga.

The National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse chairperson Mabel Imbuga.

Photo credit: Joseph Ndunda | Nation Media Group

The National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) is grappling with innovative drug peddlers who have turned to online marketing of drugs to evade arrests.

Peddlers are now using social media platforms even as the Covid-19 pandemic slowed down Nacada operations to curb drugs and substance abuse. The agency says some drugs and substance users have been using drugs at home in the presence of their children.

The new trend has sent Nacada back to the drawing board as it seeks to find mechanisms of recovering the lost gains. The agency’s board chairperson Mabel Imbuga on Saturday said some people have been consuming alcohol in bars past curfew hours in total disregard to Covid-19 protocols.

 “To address these Covid-related challenges, the authority is working with all key players, including the Ministry of Interior, and other security and law enforcement agencies to address related offenses,” said Prof Imbunga at an event organised by Nacada to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Effective services

This year’s theme is 'Share Facts on Drugs, Save Lives'- which highlights the need for evidence-based approaches to equip the public with tools to inform choices and effective services.

Prof Imbuga said that Nacada has worked towards reducing the demand for drugs and substances through the positive parenting programme. The programme targets parents and empowers them with knowledge on drugs and how to help affected family members.

 “The life skills programme which has been piloted in over 84 primary schools has empowered young pupils with knowledge on alcohol and drugs and also elicited good debate on drug use amongst pupils and teachers,” Prof. Imbuga said.

Nacada has helped 10 counties to set up treatment and rehabilitation centres. The counties include Bomet, Kisii, Kwale, Mombasa and Nyeri. Others are Kisumu, Kakamega, Taita Taveta, Nakuru and Lamu.

Rehabilitation centres

She said that the rehabilitation centres have been critical in enhancing uptake of treatment services at the local level.

 “The regular training of addiction professionals including their certification has ensured that the country has a pool of resource persons to provide evidence-based interventions to persons with substance use disorders,” she said.

Nacada Chief Executive Officer Victor Okioma said the agency has adopted a set of new standards including the introduction and implementation of scientific approaches to research in the war against drug and substance abuse.

Mr Okioma said this will guide implementation of prevention programmes within families, schools, workplaces, media and our communities.

He said one of the greatest milestones that Nacada has achieved is the development of the National Standards on Alcohol and Drug Use Prevention.

 “The standards aim at improving delivery of programmes, interventions and policies in Kenya to produce positive outcomes for the targeted populations. It accentuates our commitment to Evidence-Based Interventions combating alcohol and drug abuse challenges in Kenya,” Mr. Okioma said.

Recent surveys by Nacada have shown that miraa (khat), tobacco, alcohol, bhang and glue are the most abused drugs and substances in Kenya.

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