Law enforcement agencies have now adopted a lead-by-example principle in an effort to combat the escalating national scourge of drug and substance addiction.
A number of rehabilitation programs have been lined up to help security officers struggling with dependence and addiction recovery from the scourge.
According to Internal Security and National Administration Principal Secretary Dr. Raymond Omollo, the strategy is intended at providing the affected officers with supportive counseling and more access to specialized treatment and ultimately positions them as credible role models.
“To serve as an example, we have begun sowing these seeds of change from within, and our focus is on our security officers,” he said, adding that the move will also demonstrate a higher level of commitment of the officers in enforcing the national guidelines on alcohol and drug use prevention.
He was speaking during the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which is marked on the 26th of June every year as part of the global efforts to eradicate drug abuse.
Dr. Omollo attributed most cases of addiction within the National Police Service to work-related issues and prolonged exposure to high-stress environments, a cold reality he said the government has undertaken to address through the ongoing reforms in the sector.
He said, “It is with a heavy heart that we acknowledge this harsh reality. These brave men and women confront harrowing situations; some of them come face-to-face with life-threatening risks, and we have always counted on them to bear the weight of our national security burden without failure.”
According to him, the government continues to deploy an open dialogue strategy in encouraging the affected officers to commit to the available alcohol addiction recovery programs.
The PS also stated that among the key priorities set for this financial year is the improvement of police welfare, with a focus on their working conditions and remuneration.
This will also be extended to mental health support and stress management programs to avert the destructive path of substance abuse.
“That is why we are encouraging them to seek help without fear of judgment, victimization or repercussions,” he noted.
His call to action is aligned with the theme of this year’s World Drug Day, whose message is anchored on ending stigma and discrimination against addicts.
This approach is already yielding positive results, with more than 30 officers recently graduating from the Rehabilitation Centre at the Regional Police Training Center in Kimilii, Bungoma County