The National Agency for the Campaign against Drug Abuse (Nacada) has stepped in to facilitate the rehabilitation of a former Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldier who was sacked for his drinking habits.
The help from Nacada comes a week after the Daily Nation highlighted his plight.
The chairman of the agency, Col (Rtd) Julius Ayub Githiri, visited Stanley Gachie Mwangi in Murang’a and drove him to St Martin’s Rehabilitation Centre in Maragua, where he said Nacada would foot all his bills for treatment and the rehabilitation.
He said he was touched after reading an article on Nation.co.ke on how Mr Mwangi turned to be a sweeper and an errand boy for shops and bars in order to get money to buy cheap liquor before eventually falling into alcohol addiction.
“I was touched because I was also in the army for 20 years but Nacada will foot his entire bill and re-integration given that he said he is ready to change and mend his ways,” Mr Githiri told the journalists.
Mr Mwangi’s mother narrated how her son, who had built her a decent house, turned into selling spoons and plates for him to get money to buy alcohol.
She said her biggest role has been to keep an eye on her son and look him in several bars whenever he is late to return home but was thankful that he would finally recover.
The Nation has learnt that some KDF soldiers who used to work with Mr Mwangi have started WhatsApp group with an aim of soliciting funds to help their former work mate.
Mr Githiri decried the increase in the number of bars in central Kenya, noting there are more bars in the region than primary schools and churches.
He added that peer pressure has driven many youths into alcohol and drug abuse.
He faulted county governments for licensing so many bars and failing to rehabilitate addicts using the money they receive from the licensing.
“When the licensing of bars became a devolved function that is the biggest tragedy that ever happened to the country. Money received from the sector ought to rehabilitate such people but we don’t know where the money goes,” he said.
The former army officer said Nacada is in talks with the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) seeking to have addiction listed as a disease and to make it easier for addicts to be accessing medical services using NHIF cards.
“It’s the high time that Kenyans appreciate addiction is a disease and helped the addicts access medical services using the cards because parents and relatives of the victims can’t afford to cater for the huge amounts of fees at rehabilitation centres.