A Parliamentary caucus group against drug and substance abuse has called for additional rehabilitation centres nationwide to deal with rising addictions and drug abuse among Kenyans.
The group dubbed Parliamentarians Against Drugs and Substance Abuse Caucus said that the rising substance abuse cases, including among civil servants, were worrying.
Get exclusive access to the groundbreaking story of Ms. Faith Odhiambo’s historic presidency at LSK in our Latest Edition of Nairobi Law Monthly MagazineDownload Latest Edition Now For Ksh 150!
The group made the recommendations after reports that many civil servants and government officers were now turning to alcohol and other substances to deal with work-related stress and the harsh economic times.
A report released by the Public Service last month shows that cases of absenteeism among public officers from work were also on the rise, with Public Service Principal Secretary Amos Gathecha adding that the number of government officers in need of counselling services has also doubled from 5,000 to 13,000 in the last one year.
Speaking during a meeting with officials from the International Society of Substance Use Professionals (ISSUP), the parliamentary caucus chairman Antony Kibagendi also called for more partnerships to end rising addictions in the country.
the number of government officers in need of counselling services has risen from 5,000 to 13,000 in the last one yearPublic Service Report
“We are seeking partnership with organisations and would like to discuss how you and other NGOs and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) can identify projects we can institute in different affected parts of the country.
“We are seeking partnership in capacity building, standardisation of rehabilitation centres, and harm reduction,” said Kibagendi, the Kitutu Chache South MP.
The President of ISSUP, Pamela Kaithuru, noted that her organisation is ready and available to mobilise resources from their development partners.
“I am sure resources for the activities will be available. Once we develop a budget for the capacity building, we can mobilise resources from our development partners and develop a hybrid programme that will be covered in-person and online,” said Kaithuru.
The ISSUP team said that there is a need to empower the practitioners working in rehabilitation centres, stating that they are working on modalities of ensuring that the practitioners get to the depth of the disease, identify the underlying issues and deal with them effectively so that the affected can come out empowered to live a better life.
Public Service PS Amos Gathecha (R) with counsellors from different government ministries during a retreat in Naivasha.
They also emphasised the need to conduct follow-up programmes for those rehabilitated to help reduce the rates of relapse. This would include developing sustainable ways for those who have recovered from drug use to be reintegrated into society post-recovery.
Further, the team noted that there is a need to invest more in prevention to cut down on treatment, which is much more expensive.
“Our professionals can go wherever you send us to create awareness. We have many professionals stationed in different parts of the country. We can build capacity for your team and the wider group of people you work with. We will also do extensive research to establish the drivers of this menace in different areas to develop sustainable solutions,” stated Dr Kaithuru.
ISSUP also promised to subsidise capacity-building costs to train as many people as possible.
The Parliamentary Caucus is mandated to prevent substance use and other social problems to significantly improve society’s health, safety and well-being by reviewing and enhancing legislative and institutional frameworks to combat illicit drug abuse.