The anti-drug agency has raised the alarm over the rise in bhang abuse and heavy consumption of illicit brews in Nyanza.
National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) regional programme officer Samson Wambisa said Nyanza is in second position in bhang smoking in Kenya after central Kenya, according to a survey carried out in 2012.
Speaking during the ‘Epuka pombe na dawa za kulevya’ road show in Kisumu, Mr Wambisa said they were concerned with the increasing number of young lives being destroyed through taking bhang and illicit brews.
‘‘We want to create awareness among the youths in western Kenya during this festive season to curb drug abuse and consumption of illicit brews,’’ said Mr Wambisa.
Nyanza regional commissioner Francis Mutie said they will work tirelessly with Nacada to reduce the high rate of bhang smoking in the region.
According to a 2012 Nacada report, the rate of drug and alcohol abuse stands at 13 per cent.
This means in every 100 people, 13 are involved in the practice.
Mr Mutie said there is need to educate youths on drug abuse. People between the ages of 15 and 65 are the most vulnerable, he added.
He warned youths against taking bhang and illicit brews, saying the practice exposes them to the risk of contracting cancer.
Nacada is conducting competitions targeting youths in Siaya, Kisumu, Vihiga, Kakamega, Nyamira, Migori, Kisii and Homabay.
Mr Mutie urged youths to start businesses, saying the government is set to allocate funds for their projects.
Meanwhile, Kisumu county police commandant David Ng’etich said they were yet to get the Alcoblow to crack down on errant drivers in the region.
‘‘We are yet to receive the gadgets to enable us to crack down on motorists driving under the influence of alcohol,’’ said Mr Nge’tich.