Pubdate: Tue, 03 Aug 2004
Source: Daily Nation (Kenya)
Copyright: 2004 Nation Newspapers
Author: Beatrice Otieno



The Government was yesterday criticised for doing little to tackle drug

Instead, the Ministry of Health was frustrating efforts to check the vice,
which is taking its toll, especially among young Kenyans, an official of the
National Campaign Against Drug Abuse (Nacada) said.

Acting director Roseline Onyuka lamented that, despite a 1994 law mandating
the ministry to establish rehabilitation centres for drug addicts, none had
been built.

As a result, it had become almost impossible to rehabilitate those who
wanted to give up the indulgence, she said.

Speaking during an annual general meeting on drug policy at Sunset Hotel,
Kisumu, she demanded that the ministry speedily establish such centres if
the trend was to be arrested. Drug abuse was a "time bomb waiting to
explode", she said.

Mrs Onyuka regretted that, because the parents' responsibility to dissuade
their children from drug and substance was too heavy, most parents had
abdicated the responsibility of dissuading their children from drug and
substance abuse to teachers. They did not easily believe their children were
using drugs when told, she added.

She said: "Parents are still denying this fact. We're lingering in the
denial stage that will make us pay heavily. It is the same way we dealt with
the HIV/Aids in its formative stage. We denied its existence for so long,
but now look at the price we have paid."

She attributed the escalating cases of juvenile delinquency, dropouts, rape,
sexual abuse and theft to drug abuse. In the face of the trend, it was
essential for society to address them urgently, noted Mrs Onyuka.

Chief Government pharmacist Kijana Baya said the Pharmacy and Poisons Board
would take stern measures to eliminate quacks in the pharmaceutical
business. Also in the spotlight would be unapproved institutions offering
certificate and diploma courses in pharmacy.

The board would not allow or recognise certificates issued by such
institutions, Mr Baya said.

"Drugs issued to patients must be of the right standard and quality and
those found handling stolen Government drugs will be dealt with
accordingly," he warned. 
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