A drug is chemical substance which when
taken changes the functioning of the body
and the mind.
What is drug use?
Using a drug for its intended purpose, eg use
of anti-malarial tablets to treat malaria,
panadol to relieve pain etc.
What is drug abuse?
Drug abuse is the improper use of drugs, e.g.
taking piriton to sleep instead of using it to
treat allergy, sniffing glue instead of using it
as an adhesive.
Drugs Abused in Kenya
1. Illicit (illegal) for example Heroine, Cocaine,
Chang’aa, Bhang, Kuber, Mandrax,
2. Licit (legal) drugs for example Alcohol (Beer,
Wines & Spirits) Tobacco, Miraa.
Drugs and substances abused in
3. Miraa/ khat
5. Inhalants and Solvents
8. Prescription Drugs – including sex
Other drugs abused in Kenya
1. Anabolic Steroids
Causes of Drug Abuse in
1. Peer influence
2. Low self-esteem
3. Media influence (TV, magazines, internet)
4. Rebellion against parents, teachers, religion
6. Lack of knowledge of drugs
7. Poor role models .
8. Frustrations from home, school, body changes
9. Inability to achieve goals set thus feeling like
10. False ideas and perceptions. e.g. bhang
enhances academic performance ..
Effects of Drug Abuse in
1. Poor memory
2. Reduced reasoning capacity
3. Truancy and poor performance in school,
sports and other activities.
4. Poor concentration
5. Dropping out of school.
6. Suspension and expulsion from schools .
7. Risky sexual behavior leading to early
pregnancy & HIV/AIDS
8. Crimes like theft,violence,rape,incest,bestiality
(sex with animals) leading to legal
9. Poor health
10. Personal neglect
11. Withdrawal and isolation from society
12. Being shunned by the society .
13. Personal guilt
14. Poor relations with parents, teachers, siblings
and peers .
15. Physical and psychological addiction .
16. Overdose of drugs can lead to DEATH.
Preventive Strategies to
Drugs and Substance Abuse
1. Involve yourself in pleasurable activities like
games, drama, clubs and societies etc
2. Develop a good reading culture .
3. Apply critical thinking e.g. asking
yourself,why am I doing this?
4. What for? What are the consequences of my
5. Develop mechanisms for dealing with
difficulties, issues .
6. Choose friends wisely .
7. Develop your personal potential such as
8. Appreciate, love and accept yourself as you
9. Identify and pursue your purpose in life .
10. Self awareness: identify your capabilities,
strength, limitations, weaknesses and
appreciate them .
11. Be aware of your physical, mental and
emotional changes taking place during
adolescence and learn to cope.
Drug Addiction in Kenya
Addiction is the continued use of a mood
altering substance or behavior despite adverse
dependency consequences, or a neurological
impairment leading to such behaviors.
Addictions can include, but are not limited to,
alcohol abuse, drug abuse, exercise abuse,
pornography and gambling. Classic hallmarks
of addiction include: impaired control over
substances/behavior, preoccupation with
substance/behavior, continued use despite
consequences, and denial.
How does addiction start?
People try drugs or other potentially addictive
behavior because they are seeking some sort
of reward or benefit. Those who take drugs,
for instance, do so because of the physical
effects they hope to experience. Drugs have a
marked effect on the body and mind. If there
were no effect, people would be unlikely to
repeat the experience. No one sets out just to
Who’s at risk of addiction?
What makes some people more susceptible to
becoming dependent or addicted is perhaps a
genetic predisposition. This theory, with some
evidence to support it, makes sense especially
since addiction crosses social divides.
However, this is still debatable.
There are also cultural and social factors that
put people at greater risk. For instance, you’re
less likely to become alcohol-dependent
growing up in a country where alcohol
consumption is unacceptable than where it’s a
normal part of everyday life. Growing up in a
family where there’s alcohol or drug abuse
increases the risk. This is also the case for
people who suffer childhood trauma, abuse
Poverty, a lack of education and
unemployment can also increase the risks. If
your environment is stressful and you feel
unable to change it, you may turn to
substances for relief. Significant life events
may contribute. If your inner world is in
turmoil, you may turn to substances as
medication to feel better.
People who don’t receive adequate nurture as
children or who are more emotionally sensitive
may be more susceptible. These factors won’t
always lead to substance misuse or
dependency or any other addictive behavior,
but they can increase vulnerability.
Drug Addiction Treatment in
Drug addiction is a complex disease. It is a
chronic, relapsing brain disease and involves a
combination of ecological, physiological and
historical factors. It is not voluntary behavior
and is often a fatal illness.
Addiction treatment and rehabilitation in
Kenya is largely a private sector and NGO
affair dating back to 1978. Treatment and
rehabilitation centers are few, operate in a
policy vacuum and are expensive for the
majority of Kenyans. The development of the
National Standards by NACADA and
stakeholders, training of professionals on
treatment and counseling and developing the
credentialing system for addiction
professionals are milestones in treatment and
Treatment services and opportunities may
include detoxification, substitution or
maintenance therapy and/or psychosocial
therapies and counseling.
1. No single treatment is appropriate for all
2. Effective treatment attends to multiple needs
of the individual, not just his/her drug use
3. Treatment must address medical,
psychological, social, vocational, and legal
The Duration of Treatment
Depends on patient problems/needs. Less
than 90 days is of limited/no effectiveness for
residential/outpatient setting. Mostly longer
treatment is often indicated.
Detoxification safely manages the physical
symptoms of withdrawal and any symptoms of
psychiatric and emotional disorders. It is only
the first stage of addiction treatment. Alone, it
does little to change long-term drug use. The
Focus on stabilization and takes a couple of
days, usually 3 to 10
1. Refers to the process by which a person
presenting with a substance related problem
achieves an optimal state of health
psychological functioning and social well
being devoid of substance abuse.
2. The process may also be rehabilitation
depending on clients needs.
3. Typically follows detoxification and, if
required, other medical and psychiatric
4. It encompasses a variety of approaches which
may include psycho education ,group therapy,
family therapy, specific behavior therapies to
prevent relapse, involvement with a self-help
group, residence in a therapeutic community
or halfway house, vocational and survival
skills training. There is an expectation of
social reintegration into the wider community.
5. The approaches used often depend on the
Medications for drug addiction in Kenya
4. Antabuse/ disulfiram
5. Nicotine Replacement
1. A broad range of community-based service
supports designed to maintain benefits when
structured treatment has been completed.
2. It may involve a continuation of individual or
group counseling and other supports, but
usually at a lower intensity and often by other
3. Self-help groups such as Alcoholics
Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are
important providers of aftercare services
Writtent by Jaymo YoungGee