Alcohol is the most abused substance in Kenya followed by cannabis whose use has increased by 90 percent in the last 5 years, according to a newly released national survey.
One in six Kenyans (4,733,152) aged between 15 and 65 is projected to abuse at least one drug or substance, according to the survey.
According to the 2022, “Status of Drugs and Substance Use (DSU), report released on Friday by the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA), one in every three males (3,783,854) aged 15 – 65 years and one in every sixteen females (949,298) were using at least one drug or substance.
The western region at 26.4 percent followed by the Eastern at 20.7 percent and Nairobi at 19.1 percent recorded the highest prevalence of at least one drug or substance of abuse as captured in the five-year.
One in every eight Kenyans aged 15 – 65 years (3,199,119) is said to be alcoholic with the Western region having the highest prevalence at 23.8 percent followed by Coast (13.9 percent) and Central (12.8 percent).
Nairobi region had the highest prevalence of manufactured legal alcohol (10.3 percent) followed by Central (10.0 percent) and Eastern 8.4 percent.
Central region had the highest prevalence of potable spirits (4.1 percent) followed by Coast (3.2 percent) and Rift Valley (3.1 percent).
Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo said the statistics on drug and substance abuse are truly alarming and deeply concerning especially over the young age.
“When I first went through the 2022 Drug Use Report, it hit me that we were staring at a crisis of epic proportions. The fact that more than 4 million people used drugs in the country in 2022 was truly staggering, that is 1 in every 10 people,” PS Omollo said.
He said that the potential and workforce that could otherwise contribute to the growth and development of the country is “far worse now than at independence 60 years ago.”
“Unfortunately, the most productive years lie within this bracket, and this is fast being eroded by alcohol, which is the most actively used, and cannabis whose use has increased by 90 percent in the last 5 years,” Omollo added.
NACADA CEO Victor Okioma urged all the stakeholders to work together to identify the root causes of drug and substance abuse and come up with sustainable solutions.
Dial a Drink
NACADA further cited the availability of alcohol delivery options via online platforms as one of the key reasons contributing to alcohol abuse among young people as it’s not easy for the authority to regulate.