Illegal cross-border drug trafficking is singled out as root cause of increased drug and substance abuse among youth in Kajiado county, Writes Lilian Lelei.
Porous nature of the border and sloppy law enforcement has enabled unscrupulous businessmen to gain access to illegal drugs and alcoholic beverages that make their way into the country.
Speaking at Masai Technical Training Institute on Wednesday, the National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) CEO Victor Okioma said youth have been rendered vulnerable due to reckless alcoholism and drug abuse which continue to make them unproductive in their formative years.
“We cannot sit back and see alcohol and drugs ruin the lives of our youth while we do nothing about it,” he lamented.
Okioma said NACADA is in the process of fighting rampant drug abuse cases nationally in a drug eradication campaign dubbed “NACADA Mashinani” targeting youths in rural areas where the vice has been documented to be rife.
“It is high time we sensitized the youth on the negative effects of alcoholism, drugs and substance abuse; that is the only role we can play to safeguard their future,” he remarked.
Speaking at the same function, the county executive committee member in charge of Youth and Education, Alvin Kimani said the County Government had set aside Sh100 million set aside for youth empowerment initiatives through skills based trainings and it would be unfortunate if the program fails due to low uptake as youth get lost in drug abuse.
“I am glad that the national government is represented here by the county commissioner has committed to fight cross border drug trafficking, this is a step in the right direction,” he said.
Kimani said it is unfortunate that bars are giving Churches a run for their money in terms of how fast they were proliferating in the urban and rural centres of the county.
He regretted the fact that the youth compose 60 per cent of the population in Kajiado yet their productivity cannot be felt in development focused projects initiated by the county government.
“We need to wake up and see what alcoholism and drug abuse is doing to us as a County so that we may move forward and develop,” remarked Kimani.
Margaret Moitallel, NACADA, Board Member appealed to the youth to shun bad company which most often than not leads them into substance abuse and alcoholism.
“It is regrettable that even in a small village like where I come from bars outnumber churches and the youth have an easy access to drugs and alcohol,” she said.
NACADA was in Kajiado to meet stakeholders in a bid to situate the challenges of drugs and alcohol abuse in the county as part of a national fact finding mission that is geared towards combating and eradicating the vice.