Pubdate: Sat, 29 Jun 2013
Source: Star, the (Kenya)
Copyright: 2013 the Star
Author: Brian Otieno


Four organizations at the Coast have struck a partnership deal that
will see them work together to rehabilitate thousands of drug addicts
in the region.

The four, including Reach Out Centre, Muslims for Human Rights, Mewa
Hospital and the Shariff Nassir Foundation have set aside an initial
budget of Sh8 million for the programme.

The budget may however increase according to the success and needs of
the rehabilitation programme. There are about 60,000 addicts of
various drugs at the Coast with between 300-500 new addicts annually.

Reach Out Centre director Taib Abdulrahman told The Star there is a
gap in the fight against drug abuse which needs to be filled. He said
the programme, though not new, will add value to the existing rehabs
for reach Out and Mewa.

"The programme will include strengthening the existing rehab centres
and help reintegrate the addicts back into the society. "We will teach
them life skills in areas like carpentry, electrical fitting and other
that can help them fend for themselves once they are fully
rehabilitated," he said.

Taib said in most cases, former addicts go back to the vice due to
lack of supportive ventures that will occupy the rehabilitated addicts.

Muhuri executive director Hussein Khalid said they will ensure that
the society focuses on the addicts and accept them as part of the society.

"Drug abuse has to be approached from a health perspective. This is a
disease and we are not supposed to discriminate, stigmatise or
ostracise them. We should take them as sick people," he said.

Mvita MP Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir, who is also the Shariff Nassir
Foundation chairman, said the fight against drugs has to be stepped

He said the efforts so far shown are commendable but more needs to be
done. He said for every three step forward made, there are five that
are made backwards making the fight useless.

The MP said plans are underway to establish a female rehab centre for
the increasing number of female addicts. Taib said female addicts have
specific needs that need special attention. He revealed that his
centre has trained ten female rehab experts to deal with female addicts.
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