From: Ouko joachim omolo
Voices of Justice for Peace

Regional News

Concerns raised by Catholic Auxiliary Bishop David Kamau of Nairobi Archdiocese Sunday over heavy alcohol drinking culture among the residents of Central Province leading to most young people in the region not interested in marriage life is not something new.

While the habit is making young people not to marry, it is already causing a lot of problems in the family unit where most men have become sexually inactive. As a result women in the Central divorce or look for other men out of the region who can sire children with them.

Besides Niavasha Member of Parliament, John Mututho lobbying for alcohol law aiming at minimising drinking habit with view to save the families from the region, this has not done any impact at all.

Murang’a County is among the areas in Central Province worst affected by alcohol abuse especially among the youth. This has extended to Dagoreti constituency in Nairobi where pupils in various schools have the highest rate of alcohol consumption despite Ministry of Youth and Sports’ effort to introduce an age-group football tournament in Dagoretti and Lang’ata constituencies to raise awareness on drug and substance abuse among the youth.

While boys were found to generally take more alcohol in their lifetime, girls are reported to be taking more than the males in one sitting. The study identified several factors that could make a student turn to drugs: being male; living with a grandparent; professing the Christian faith and residing in Dagoretti among others.

Statistics from national census indicate that population growth in Central Kenya had declined from 1.8 percent in 1999 to 1.6 percent in the latest census in 2009. Enrollment in schools also on a downward trend due to reduced birth rate.

According to Central provincial Commissioner Kiplima Rugut, even though the number of bars in the province has significantly been reduced from 9,000 in 2007 to 4,950 by the liquor licencing committee he chairs, alcohol consumption in the region is still high.

Although the consumption of drugs and other related substances was practiced in African traditional societies, this was done within the set rules and regulations that governed the production and supply of these substances and also determined who was to use them.

Recent study found out that this controlled consumption of drugs was undermined by the coming of colonization in Kenya through the setting up of new social, political and economical structures. These structures commercialized the production and supply of some of these drugs such as alcohol and tobacco.

This study has established that drugs of abuse to be easily accessible to most of the adolescents in our learning institutions. The objectives of this study were to find out; the extent of drug abuse in teachers training colleges, sources of these drugs and to identify the factors that influence students to abuse drugs. The study was carried out in primary teacher colleges in Central Province of Kenya.

Although according to National Agency for Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NACADA) the Province leads in abuse of drugs in schools, with 68 per cent of students being exposed, this is not the first time drugs abuse related issues is being highlighted in the province.

Since May 2001 the alarming incidents of drugs abuse in the province have been hindering education programme in the area. The increase is also the main cause of unrest in schools.

According to preliminary findings, one of the reasons for this lawlessness according the then Education Permanent Prof Japheth Kiptoon is that a number of students do not see themselves as having any future that is why they ended up abusing drugs which led to unrest in schools.

Although in most communities in Africa, cultural traditions prohibit women from using drugs, today most girls in schools smoke and drink alcohol.

Findings of the National Baseline Survey, a research conducted by NACADA in 2001 show that on a national scale, 60 per cent of Kenyan students aged between 10-24 abuse alcohol, 57 per cent abuse tobacco, 22 per cent bhang and miraa while 6 per cent abuse inhalants.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
People for Peace in Africa
Tel +254-7350-14559/+254-722-623-578

Peaceful world is the greatest heritage
That this generation can give to the generations
To come- All of us have a role.

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