Increased Drug Abuse
Factors Contributing to Increased Drug Abuse and Measures Taken by Government to Mitigate
Drug abuse has become a major issue of concern to the Kenyan government, religious groups, and social-cultural groups in Kenya. The commonly abused drugs in the economy are; alcohol, bhang, tobacco, heroin, cocaine, “miraa,” and opium (Kamenderi et al., p: 54). Drug abuse is mainly among the youths, which negatively affects the economy’s growth in terms of physically active and productive labor in the market. The growth of a country is dependent on a healthy population. This study seeks to establish the factors contributing to the increase in drug abuse in Kenya and the government’s measures to mitigate this problem.
Social and cultural factors such as peer pressure, the popularity of bullying, desire for adventure, carefree parents, and need to release stress have led to increased use of drugs (Makau et al., pp: 44-53). Peer pressure is common in youths where drug takers influence their friends to take drugs either by supporting them to purchase drugs or curtailing their friendship. Another factor is carefree parents, where parents are irresponsible in taking care of their children, and some support them in purchasing drugs. Additionally, some people take drugs with the desire to feel how others feel, and this, in the long run, leads to addiction. Lastly, a family history of drug abuse addiction makes even the youngsters in such a family start taking drugs.
Economic factors such as poverty, unemployment, and the low cost of drugs have contributed to increased drug abuse. According to (Alahmari et al., pp: 39-47), drug abuse and unemployment have a strong positive relationship. When an individual loses a job, he takes drugs to relieve stress, and in the long run, this leads to addiction, which might make a person never be accepted in any of the job markets in the economy. More also, the low cost of drugs has encouraged many youths to indulge in drugs abuse. People with low economic status are likely to be involved in drug abuse, an example of street people in the towns.
Demographic factors such as gender, mother’s marital status during birth, area of residence, and the number of children a mother has before marriage contributed to drug abuse. The closer one is to the shop selling drugs, the more likely he is involved in drug abuse. Having more children before getting married makes a mother indulge in drug abuse to relieve stress.
The increased drug abuse has raised the alarm to the government, and thus government uses the following method to mitigate the problem. Drugs demand reduction through measures such as drug use prevention and treatment of substance use disorders. County governments are assigned the role of providing liquor licenses restrictively. They are provided with funds to set up more recreational facilities and create awareness for the masses through civic education. The government has also joined international conventions such as the WHO global strategy on alcohol and drug abuse control.
The government has also established a framework for drug harm reduction, for example, free maternity services to reduce the blood born infection from mothers to newborns. To counter the effect of drug trafficking through computers, the government uses information and communication technology. The government has created platforms for the youths such as “Kazi Mtaani” and the Kenya Youth Employment Opportunities Program (KYEOP). By so doing, the government is ensuring youth economic empowerment. Such platforms have reduced the available time for youths to be idle and have provided more job opportunities, thus countering the positive correlation between drug abuse and unemployment.
Drug abuse is a major public health problem in major universities (Mbuthia et al., pp: 464-470). Factors such as poverty, unemployment, parents’ irresponsibility, low cost of drugs, peer pressure, and desire for adventure have led to increased drug abuse. Therefore, the Kenyan government should remain vigilant in fighting drug abuse in the economy to realize economic growth and development at all levels.
Alahmari, T., F. Ashworth, and A. Alkhalaf. “Changing trends of substance addiction in Saudi Arabia between 1993 and 2013.” MOJ Addiction Medicine & Therapy 6.1 (2019): 39-47.
Kamenderi, Morris, et al. “Status of Drugs and Substance Abuse among the General Population in Kenya.” EDITION 1: JULY 2019 2 (2021): 54.
Makau, Patricia, Elizabeth Muema, and Milcah W. Mutuku. “Social factors influencing substance and drug abuse in universities in Machakos County, Kenya.” Research on humanities and social sciences 9.20 (2019): 44-53.
Mbuthia, G., et al. “Assessing the effectiveness of alcohol and drug abuse awareness campaigns among university students in Kenya: A quasi-experimental study.” Medicine Science 6.3 (2017): 464-470.