Why fight against drugs should be a source of unity against evil

Tuesday March 7 2017

Drug-taking is on the rise in our society

Taib Abdulrahman (left), Reachout Trust Rehabilitation Centre director, and Mvita MP Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir mark the campaign against drugs, in Mvita on June 17, 2015. Drug-taking is on the rise in our society. PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By WANJOHI KIBICHO
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The worth of our children cannot be gainsaid. To have them is like having our hearts walking around outside our bodies.

Their wellbeing comes first. So, we teach them the difference between right and wrong.

We are always furious when sentimental items go missing from our homes, only to find out that they are with the local drug peddler.

Henceforth, we dread the next phone call, while at the same time we cannot sleep because we have not received one.

Eventually, we focus all our attention on the addict(s) in the house at the expense of the rest of our children.

For drug abuse is a cancer that saps the strength of the entire family.

In the narcotic world, lying replaces honesty and shortcuts substitute hard work.

Drugs drive away love and hope; dents trust and confidence; and, kill happiness and dreams.

In that confusion, no one knows where the problem/solution lies. For we are reduced to a community of zombies.

You might be thinking: drugs do not concern me. I thought so too, until I came face-to-face with its incapacitating darkness.

Throughout my 20 plus years career as a social science researcher, I have seen innumerable promising lives shattered by drugs — hard, soft and any combination.

Drug-taking is on the rise in our society. And, it concerns us all for it rips the lives of fellow Kenyans.

COMMUNITY EFFORT
Needless to say, the past authorities took the attitude that the drug issue was so inconsequential or so complex that nothing could be done about it.

Those days are over and the government is acting beyond this defeatist sit-on-your-hands mentality.

It has done so by arresting and deporting a couple of high-flying suspected drug lords.

As we hurt the cartels, we should not lose sight of the fact that drug barons are ingenious.

For every window that we shut, they open a new door. To remain hot on their heels, we need to be smarter, stronger and united than them.

Law enforcers, leaders, teachers, civil society, the media and wananchi have a role to play to counter this epidemic.

Experience shows that a coordinated national strategy on addictive drugs is more successful.

Such a strategy should go beyond the supply side — drug making and peddling to demand side — drug usage.

It should seek to disrupt the dealer-user nexus by detaching the consumer from the supplier.

Hence the need for teamwork. The strategy should be based on three principal fundamentals: institutions of early learning, treatment programmes and the criminal justice system.

First, we must stop drug usage before it starts. According to social-scientific studies, drug consumption rarely begins by interacting with a drug-pusher.

Newbies get their first dose free, from older siblings and/or friends. As a result, drug use begins before teenage for many.

An awareness crusade should start at home.

FOCUSED ACTIONS

At school, peer pressure spreads the drug culture, and therefore, social pressure can help stop it.

Second, we must help those who want to get-off drugs by establishing detoxification clinics.

Third, the law must strictly be enforced. But treat drug-takers with dignity, respect and love, as the ultimate challenge underlying addiction is disconnection from the general society.

The campaign cannot be won without active participation of youth.

Invite youth to say yes to life and no to drugs. Remain clear-sighted, clear-minded by staying clean.

Our action or inaction against this ruination will light us down, in honour or dishonour, to the future generations.

For the love of humanity, let us have no moral middle ground and refuse indifference as an option.

Let us be unyielding and inflexible in our opposition to drugs as this is the only true path for our children.

Let us rally our energies, apply the tested rules of common sense, and together we shall vanquish the drug kingpins.

For, Kenya’s best days are ever ahead. Our nation’s bold journey towards being drug-free must continue and be a source of our unity.

Prof Kibicho is the author of Sex Tourism in Africa and Traditional Martial Arts. [email protected] Twitter: [email protected]