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Monday, December 6, 2021

Drug abuse in Mandera must be nipped in the bud

By Nicanor Ndiege

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Mandera County, being a frontier county, has for long time, borne the brunt of insecurity and unfavorable climate conditions.

While the government and other development partners are putting in place measures to ensure that the county is secure and has enough food, another menace, in form of drug abuse is threating to rip the region of its future-the youth.

Mandera County Commissioner Onesmus Kyatha blames the Shashamane area of Ethiopia for the increase in drugs in the region.

While speaking during a four-day training of the county government’s anti-narcotic response unit early this month, Kyatha revealed that some government officers are also part of the drug syndicate, which complicates the fight.

The county commissioner said drug dealers in Mandera are known and it remains a matter of time before they are nabbed adding that timely intervention to tame the fast growing drug peddling business is necessary in order save the county and the youth.

“We know those dealing in drugs and there was one in Takaba town who used to operate a private health facility. He took off as we closed in on him but we are still searching for him and others,” he said but did not reveal the name of said dealer who remains at large.

Common hard drugs easily found in Mandera include bhang from Ethiopia, alcohol, cocaine, shisha and heroine.

During the training, the county government officers were taken through the procedures of identifying drugs and arresting the suspected dealers or users.

North Eastern regional manager for the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) Rev Wangai Gachoka led the training of the county officers.

“We are carrying out this training so that we can cut on the funding of the terrorism activities from drugs,” said Rev Gachoka.

He revealed that an increase in abuse of prescription drugs like Cozepam (diazepam) and codeine in north eastern Kenya is due to high dependence on miraa.

“Miraa is a drug that cannot be used alone which means the user will need other drugs to control the effects including lack of sleep. Antidepressant drugs are being used by those chewing miraa for them to fall asleep,” he said.

He also blamed security camps in the north eastern for the increase in alcohol consumption in the region.

“Alcohol that is for our security camps is finding its way into the streets and we are asking for a restriction so that the same remains within the camps,” he said.

Mr Harun Musdaf, a chief officer with the Mandera County government, urged his colleagues in law enforcement to focus on the big fish in their fight against drugs, including respected members of our society, leaders and even religious leaders who are involved in the trade.

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