September 25, 2022

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Nacada must renew substance abuse war

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Kenya has a peculiar distinction where we have the right people doing the wrong things and the wrong people doing the right things. Rarely do we have the right people doing the right things at the right time.

Consumption of narcotics and banned substances is on the increase in Kenya, especially among the youth.

Strangely, the voice of the State organ legally tasked with fighting the vice, the National Authority on the Campaign Against Drugs Abuse (Nacada), is missing in action.

 Far and wide, Nacada seems to have failed Kenyans. Years after he left the State agency, Nacada, is still associated with its founding chairman John Mututho.

Under the banner of what has come to be known as ‘Mututho Rules’ – the former Naivasha Member of Parliament had his day in the sun when he served the organisation. Unlike his predecessors, Mututho showed commitment and devotion to duty.

He had a hands-on approach to his work. He invoked every law in the book to ensure the war against drugs abuse was not only visible but also real.

He went out of his way, touring various parts of the country to establish whether the rules and regulations governing the sale and consumption of alcohol and banned substances were fully adhered to.

He was a visible agent of reforms in the field. That is no longer the case.

Thousands of youthful Kenyans across the country are today deeply immersed in open abuse of drugs; be they marijuana, heroin, or illicit lethal drinks.

 In schools, institutions of higher learning, parks, streets, villages, social and entertainment joints and many other open public places, the habits are brazenly being practised with impunity with Nacada seemingly helpless, if not unconcerned.

While we agree that the fight against drug abuse is everyone’s duty, Nacada bears the highest burden of responsibility.

 For a long time, the organisation has been perceived as Kenya’s saviour from bad drinks and drugs. That is why it should deal with the issues at hand.

The agency needs to implement existing laws instead of intermittently surrendering to rhetoric and continually hiding its head in the sand. Neither should it be seen to abet the open consumption of narcotics.

Days of officials taking pictures while destroying a few containers of illicit liquor and reverting to the idle mode are long gone. Nacada can do better than this. It can. It should. It must.

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