The drug and substance abuse menace among young people in the Country is on the rise. According to the National Syndemic Disease Control Council, the number of those receiving medically assisted therapy for injecting drugs increased at an alarming rate between 2015 and 2022.
“In 2015, we had 45 people who were under medication to stop injecting drugs. By 2022, we had about 8,557 Kenyans in the programme,” Dr. Ruth Laibon CEO NSDCC
The trend has subsequently fueled HIV/AIDS infections as drug abusers tend to share needles. Statistics show that 18.3% of those who inject drugs end up contracting HIV/AIDS.
“Because most of them fear injecting themselves at home, they move to dens. While there a number of them share and use a single needle,” said Dr. Laibon
Most affected by this menace is the boychild, with most of them dropping out of school and engaging in crime. To remedy the situation, the National Syndemic Disease Control Council is calling for early intervention measures upon the realization of addiction symptoms.
“It takes 25 years to fully mature the brain. You can imagine if you are taking substances as early as 13 or 12, what are we doing to that developing brain? It has a more negative impact,” she said
According to NACADA, 18.4% of students are abusing drugs with boys accounting for 11.7% of this number.
The society, starting at the family unit has also been challenged to take up its mentorship role to nip the crisis in the bud.