Nairobi — Western region has recorded the highest prevalence of alcohol use at 24 per cent in a newly released Status of Drugs and Substance Use in Kenya.
The report published by the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) listed Coast (13.9 per cent) in second place followed by Central at 12.8 per cent.
The NACADA survey also revealed that Western region had the highest prevalence of of chang’aa use (11.4 per cent) followed by Nyanza (6.3 per cent) and Rift Valley (3.6 per cent).
The report shows Nairobi region had the highest prevalence of manufactured legal alcohol (10.3 per cent) followed by Central (10.0 per cent) and Eastern (8.4 per cent).
It further indicates that Central region had the highest prevalence of potable spirits (4.1 per cent) followed by Coast (3.2 per cent) and Rift Valley (3.1 per cent).
The findings suggested one in every eight Kenyans aged 15 – 65 years (3,199,119) were using alcohol.
“Alcohol continues to be the most widely used substance of abuse in Kenya with findings pointing towards increasing demand for cheaper and readily available alcoholic products especially chang’aa, traditional brews, and potable spirits,” the report reads in part.
Commenting on the findings, Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo said the statistics on drug and substance abuse are truly alarming and deeply concerning.
He expressed worry over the young age of the most of drug and substance not that the country is staring at a huge crisis if quicker interventions are not put in place.
“When I first went through the 2022 Drug Use Report, it hit me that we were staring at a crisis of epic proportions. The fact that more than 4 million people used drugs in the country in 2022 was truly staggering, that is 1 in every 10 people,” PS Omollo said.
He said that the potential and work force that could otherwise contribute to the growth and development of the country is “far worse now than at independence 60 years ago.”
“Unfortunately, the most productive years lie within this bracket, and this is fast being eroded by alcohol, that is the most actively used, and cannabis whose use has increased by 90 percent in the last 5 years,” he added.
NACADA CEO Victor Okioma said the revelations from the survey is very worrying singling out the drop in the age of initiation to as low as 6 yrs.
He pointed out that all the stakeholders need to work together to identify the root causes of the drug and substance abuse and come up with sustainable solutions.
To address this, the report recommends enhanced collaboration between the national and county governments to scale up joint enforcement efforts to control the production, distribution, sale, and consumption of illicit brews.