One of the biggest social challenges in the coastal region and, especially in Mombasa town and its environs, is the rampant drug peddling and abuse that has had a devastating impact on the youth. But the scourge is, indeed, a countrywide problem.
There have been harrowing accounts of young people ravaged by drugs and reduced to zombies. Unless serious steps are taken to eradicate drug trafficking, the country risks losing an entire generation. The consequences are directly felt in the loss of potentially productive labour, as the majority of the drug addicts belong to the most productive segment of the population.
Another challenge is the huge spending on medication, as the public health facilities increasingly devote their meagre resources to caring for youth ravaged by drugs. Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i’s latest visit to the Coast, during which he has pledged that the government is stepping up its fight against drug abuse and trafficking, is commendable. We have seen a renewed campaign against the drug lords, who have no scruples about enriching themselves from ruining the lives of others.
The CS’s visit comes at a time when the most notorious Kenyan drugs cartel has been vanquished, thanks to international support and cooperation. Members of the notorious Akasha family of drug merchants have been convicted and locked up in the United States. The jailing of the Akasha brothers is a warning to their accomplices still at large that they can run but cannot hide.
As the remnants of the Mombasa drug trafficking empire are sought and seized to face justice, the time has come to fully clean up the mess. Thankfully, a number of facilities for the rehabilitation of drug addicts have been set up. As the health personnel attend to those hooked on drugs, it is essential to step up the creation of awareness on the devastating consequences of drug abuse. Families and communities should play their roles in fighting the scourge. These merchants of death must be stopped from wrecking any more lives.