Children as young as 10 are smuggling bhang and cocaine in schools, antinarcotics campaigner Gladys Chania has said.
Chania said the situation is worsened by the fact that underage children cannot be put in rehabilitation centres.
“Underage addicts cannot be put in rehab centres together with adults. NACADA should step in and provide solutions for the underage addicts,” she said.
She spoke during the 2017 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking at Ndumberi grounds in Kiambu town on Monday.
This year’s theme is ‘#listenfirst’.
The law stipulates that children under 18 years are not supposed to be rehabilitated but taken to approved schools.
Chania, a child and adult psychologist, said the education sector should have a requirement for drug testing.
“Can we have a requirement in the education sector for drug testing to be done on children who have done their class eight to form one? This will control the problem,” she said.
NACADA chairman Julius Ayub said the most commonly abused drugs among students are tobacco, alcohol, bhang, miraa, opium cocaine and heroin.
“There are 32 emerging drugs in Nairobi alone, which is followed by Mombasa with 21 new drug types. We need to be vigilant on what must be done to curtail this menace,” Ayub said.
Ayub said 2.2 million Kenyans are currently abusing alcohol and that this is worsened by high unemployment rates.
The authority’s chief executive officer Victor Okioma said they will focus on primary schools since that is where the problem starts.
Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery, in his speech read by Kiambu county commissioner Wilson Wanyanga, said porous borders pose a big challenge in the war against drug abuse.
“My ministry, through NACADA, is working with 13 county governments to establish treatment centres at county level,” he said.
-The Star|STANLEY NJENGA