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Policy draft by NACADA to mitigate loopholes in fight against drug abuse

The National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) and civil society stakeholders are making significant strides in the fight against Alcohol, Drugs and Substance Abuse (ADA) with the development of key policy guidelines that will see the scourges tamed.

Speaking at the stakeholders’ consultative forum for the National Policy for the Prevention, Management and Control of Alcohol, Drugs and Substance Abuse at Uhuru na Kazi buildings, Mombasa County Commissioner (CC) Mohamed Nur said that deliberate measures by the government to curb the drug menace in the County are slowly bearing fruits.

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The policy aims to safeguard society from the harmful effects of alcohol, drug, and substance use.

CC Nur said that ley interventions including the policy draft by NACADA will mitigate existing loopholes that have in the past stifled progress in the fight against drugs and alcohol.

Nur added that in Mombasa stringent adherence measures have been enforced with the collaboration of security agencies and the community.

“We have sustained the fight against alcohol and substance abuse and so far our efforts have been worthwhile. Our teams have been able to shut down close to 167 unauthorized bars operating near schools and residential areas and nabbed an estimated Ksh. 10 million street value worth of bhang,” revealed CC Nur.

The CC also called on parents and guardians to keep a close eye on their children during the long school holidays.

He noted that the unregulated selling of Khat to minors is slowly becoming a grave concern to both residents and security agencies as it has occasioned the sprouting of Khat chewing dens that are now emerging to be ripe breeding grounds for juvenile gangs in the County.

“There should be regulations in place by the County government to dictate the issue surrounding the selling of Khat. We call on the County Government to assist in policy implementations that will give clear directives on aspects like time of sale, designated areas of business and as the County security team we shall handle the enforcement,” added Nur.

Stakeholders lauded the development of the policy saying it will herald a fresh impetus in the renewed fight against ADA in the country.

Celine Awuor the CEO of the International Institute for Legislative Affairs (IILA), says they work with government agencies to support the implementation of policies that address the needs of the people.

“We are working on the area of non-communicable disease reduction. We are looking at the risk factors for instance alcohol consumption harm is a big problem in the country leading to non-communicable diseases and other social harms that we see in the community,” she said.

ILLA is a key player in the development of the policy as part of a global initiative known as RESET alcohol that is supported by Vital Strategies, WHO and other International Organizations.

“We are working very closely with NACADA to support the development of this National Policy on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. The policy has been in the pipeline for many years,” stated Awour, thanking NACADA for taking the leadership role to ensure the policy is refined, and structured in a way that addresses the ADA issues.

Awuor says the policy is crucial as it has fiscal measures geared towards the reduction of consumption of alcohol through taxation to reduce the affordability and reduction in the purchasing power of the public.

“We are happy also that the policy has measures around restrictions on marketing, availability and advertisement of alcohol,” she said.

Taib Abdulrahman Director of Reachout Centre termed the draft policy as a milestone in the fight against ADA because there exists an act on ADA but lacks a policy.

He said, “It has been a journey of more than ten years to be able to see this day. As stakeholders we appreciate because without the policy we won’t have a better direction in terms of implementation, monitoring, concentrating of scaling up of services and government commitment to facilitate the work of civil society.”

He called for continuous education to sensitize the community on the effects of the ADA and the creation of a Police unit to tackle ADA-related issues to be named Drug Enforcement Agency.

 

Haniel Mengistu
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