KENYA—The National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) has recently unveiled its highly anticipated and deeply concerning report on the Status of Drugs and Substance Abuse for the year 2022.

This authoritative document provides a comprehensive analysis of the prevailing situation in Kenya, shedding light on the alarming state of drug and substance abuse across the nation.

The report is based on a survey conducted every five years to assess the effectiveness of reduction programs implemented in the last five years and utilize the findings to inform new policy guidelines and programs.

The national survey utilized a cross-sectional study design to obtain reliable indicators and sampled Kenyans aged 15 to 65 years from the Kenya Household Master Sample Frame (K-HMSF).

According to the report, tobacco products, alcohol, and khat had the highest overall awareness at 97%, 95%, and 88%, respectively.

A concerning trend from the report reveals that children as young as six years old are suspected to start using these drugs, particularly tobacco.

The report also indicates that the average age for initiating tobacco, alcohol, khat, and other drugs is between 16 and 20 years.

The 2022 report highlighted that one in every three males (3,783,854) aged 15 to 65 years and one in every sixteen females (949,298) were using at least one drug or substance.

Regarding alcohol abuse, it is stated that one in every eight Kenyans aged 15 to 65 years (3,199,119) is considered alcoholic, making it the leading cause of mental illness in Kenya.

Commenting on the findings, Raymond Omollo, the Principal Secretary of the Interior, expressed deep concern over the alarming statistics on drug and substance abuse. He emphasized that the country faces a significant crisis if swift interventions are not implemented.

“When I first reviewed the 2022 Drug Use Report, I realized that we were facing an immense crisis. The fact that over 4 million people used drugs in the country in 2022 was truly staggering, accounting for 1 in every 10 people,” stated PS Omollo.

“Unfortunately, this age group represents the most productive years, which are now being eroded by alcohol, the most widely used substance, and cannabis, which has seen a 90% increase in usage over the past five years,” Omollo added.

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the NACADA board, Rev. Dr. Stephen Mairori, announced Prof. John Muteti as the agency’s new acting CEO.

The board expressed confidence in Prof. Muteti’s ability to lead the organization in fulfilling its challenging mandate, as highlighted by the Status of Drug and Substance Abuse report.

In the appointment statement, the board acknowledged Prof. Muteti’s extensive experience of over three decades in academia, private, and public sectors, which would be invaluable in guiding the authority.

In response to his appointment, Prof. Muteti expressed gratitude and pledged to utilize the opportunity to drive programs aligned with the Authority’s strategic plan, guided by the Board’s policy direction.

Prof. Muteti, who previously served as NACADA’s Director in charge of Policy, Research, and Planning, holds a Doctorate degree in Strategic Management from Nelson Mandela University, South Africa.

Additionally, he possesses a master’s degree in Economics and Social Studies from the University of Manchester, UK, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Social Studies from Victoria University Manchester.

Furthermore, he holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Project Management from Bradford University, UK, and a degree in Economics from the University of Nairobi. Currently, he serves as the Director of Research Policy and Planning at NACADA.

The National Agency for the Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NACADA) was established with the objective of conducting public education and awareness campaigns against drug abuse, with a specific focus on youth in schools and higher learning institutions.

NACADA coordinates a multi-sectoral campaign to prevent, control, and mitigate the impact of alcohol and drug abuse in the country.

In 2010, the Authority’s mandate was expanded to include the implementation of the Alcoholics Drinks Control Act of 2010.

According to the 2022 World Drug Report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), substance use has increased among African youth, posing significant social and public health issues similar to those in many Western societies.

Moreover, among the estimated 269 million drug users, approximately 35.6 million are believed to suffer from substance use disorders, indicating that their drug use is so harmful that they may experience dependence and require treatment.

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