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An Anti Drug and Alcohol Abuse Campaign in Kenya

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A recent study by a local community based organization in Kenya revealed that three out of 10 adolescents in Nyandarua county use drugs or drink alcohol.

An Anti-Drug and Alcohol Abuse and Addiction Campaign

As a result, late last month, members of Nyandarua based CBO Areka-Daps initiated an anti drug and alcohol abuse and addiction campaign in Nyandarua county.

This campaign has two focal points. First, to substantially reduce the drug and alcohol abuse and addiction in the county. And second, to help adolescents learn how to avoid drug, alcohol, and substance abuse.

Dr. Michael Munene, the CBO Areka-Daps director, stated that this anti-drug and alcohol abuse campaign will help adolescent drug and alcohol addicts get treatment and also help establish various income generating activities.

To emphasize the importance of the anti-drug and alcohol abuse and addiction campaign, Dr. Munene is also asking President Uhuru to declare alcoholism as a national disaster.

Targeting Those Who Sell Illicit Alcoholic Beverages to Youth

As an example of an "income generator," Dr. Michael Munene has recently asked the National Assembly to revise the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act so that those who are convicted of selling illicit alcoholic beverages to pre-teens and teenagers will be required to pay the cost of the adolescents' rehabilitation and their school fees.

The Problem With Legal Alcoholic Beverages

Dr. Munene also stated that the alcoholic beverages that are legally sold to adults in stores contain "addictive chemicals" that accomplishes two things.

First, it helps store owners recruit new drinkers and retain them as long-term customers. And second, it facilitates the transition from "experimenting" with alcohol to abuse and addiction.

The Consequences of Adolescent Drug and Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

The following represents some of the adverse outcomes of youth alcohol and drug abuse and addiction in Nyandarua county from the perspective of Dr. Michael Munene.

  • They contribute to the rise in poverty levels within the county

  • They break up families

  • They help spread HIV and Aids

  • They add to the increase in criminal activities

Commentary

I agree that part of the anti-drug and alcohol abuse and addiction campaign in Nyandarua county needs to focus on those who sell illicit brews to youth.

Forcing these individuals to pay for the adolescents' alcohol treatment as well as their school fees, however, is not only excessive, but it also unfairly places the blame for the underage drinking problem in the Nyandarua community on those who sell illicit alcoholic beverages to pre-teens and teenagers.

Legal Alcoholic Beverages

Dr. Munene, you mentioned that the alcoholic beverages that are legal contain addictive chemicals that help adolescents who experiment with drinking become alcohol dependent.

This obviously helps the store owners who sell alcohol recruit more young drinkers and retain them as customers.

If this is, in fact, what is going on in Nyandarua county, why not go after the alcohol manufacturers and crack down on the "addictive chemicals" that are added to the alcoholic beverages?

The Role of Parents and the School Administrators

Dr. Munene, you stated that it's a shame that the adolescents in Nyandarua county start drinking early in the morning. If this is the case, where is the parental supervision of these teenagers and pre-teens?

Even if the youth in Nyandarua county have access to alcoholic beverages "early in the morning," why aren't their parents monitoring their behavior from the moment they arise and then go to school?

Once the adolescents are at school, it's the school administrators responsibility to keep the youth safe and away from drugs and alcohol.

The school administrators can accomplish this in one of two ways. First, the administrators can initiate a random drug and alcohol testing program for all of the students.

And second, if this is seen as "too excessive," the school VIPs can hire a company that can bring K-9 units into the schools on a random basis that can sniff for drugs and alcohol.

After school, it becomes the responsibility of the parents to monitor their children's behavior and activities as well as who their children hang out with, what websites they frequently visit, and who they talk to on their cell phones.

The Need For a More Comprehensive Anti Drug and Alcohol Abuse Program

According to a recent study by a local community based organization, three out of 10 adolescents in Nyandarua county drink alcohol or use drugs.

If this information is accurate, then this further justifies the more "comprehensive" anti drug and alcohol abuse and addiction approach that was just outlined.

To view the original source for this article, see a more comprehensive approach is needed to tackle drug and alcohol abuse.

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