Pubdate: Tue, 16 Mar 2004
Source: Daily Nation (Kenya)
Copyright: 2004 Nation Newspapers
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Heroin)


Nairobi - If National Agency for the Campaign Against Drug Abuse boss 
Joseph Kaguthi is to be believed, the Ministry of Health has been 
remarkably lax in setting up rehabilitation centres.

And this despite growing evidence that drug abuse has taken root in society.

It used to be that young people, especially schoolchildren, would 
surreptitiously drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes as they tried to deal 
with the challenges of adolescence.

But while these still remain a serious problem, abusers are moving on to 
ever more sophisticated drugs - cocaine, heroin and mandrax, according to 
Mr Kaguthi.

It is hard enough for families having to deal with this emerging crisis 
within the domestic setting and for teachers to manage the problem.

Indeed, parents, sick and tired of seeing their children slide deeper down 
this slippery path, have often taken to the streets to protest against 
known drug peddlars.

The call for rehabilitation centres, provided for by the Drug and Substance 
Abuse Act of 1994, springs from a need to take abusers away from the 
situation that promotes abuse.

It is meant to provide time out for drug abusers as they heal far from 
temptation and from the things that triggered their crisis in the first place.

We are told that the ministry has also failed to provide standards and 
guidelines on managing drug abuse. The end result has been that the demand 
end of things has been largely left untended.

Getting into a drug habit is easy; getting out is a process that has to be 
carefully managed if we are not to destroy our youth, hence the need for a 
systematic policy approach.

We have spent considerable time and attention on the supply side of drug 
abuse, and received a good amount of support from international agencies.

With reports that most young people will fall into the trap of drug abuse 
at some point in the schooling process, including at university level, it 
is time we spent useful time reviewing how to deal with the demand side of 
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MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager