There was pomp and colour, as the University of Nairobi (UoN) and the Government of Kenya through National Authority for Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) on June 26, 2015, marked the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. During the event, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Peter Mbithi and NACADA Chairman Hon. John Mututho, officially launched the University of Nairobi Drug Policy on prevention of alcohol and drug abuse.
According to Hon. Mututho, 2.5 Million Kenyans are addicts with 82.5% of the youth smoking ‘shisha.’ 11.7% of the youth between the ages of 15-24 years consume alcohol and only 13% of this number is known to their parents. Hon. Mututho passionately called on the youth drug addicts to come out and ask for help that is available for them. The international theme for this year’s celebrations is a message of hope dubbed “Drug Use Disorders Are Treatable.” Hon. Mututho assured the University of the Government’s involvement in fighting the Alcohol and Drug Abuse (ADA) especially within the institution. He noted that NACADA is out to ensure that no one succeeds in either sending or selling drugs in the University.
On his part, Prof. Mbithi noted that the commemorative event was an appropriate recognition of the extraordinary progress made and an important reminder that the most profound challenge that still remains is to end the devastating vice in the society. Prof. Mbithi revealed that to strengthen these preventive activities, the University has developed a Student Assistance Program(SAP) and an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) whose specific activities include sensitization campaigns to create awareness, health education sessions, training (Peer Counsellors/Educators) , guidance and counselling, orientation of students, appropriate referrals when specialized service is necessary and active participation in ADA prevention activities organized by the ADA sub-units and ADA clubs.
Prof. Bernard Njoroge, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration and Finance, noted that ADA is a development barrier because the youth, who are meant to be the most active economically are the ones that are most affected by ADA . He called on all to be aware of the risks of alcohol and drug abuse and the illicit trafficking of these substances.
The Chief Medical Officer, University Health Services, Dr. M.R.B. Otieno, pointed out the efforts towards fighting ADA; peer counselors and Trainers of trainers (ToT) on call and sensitization programs available.
During the celebrations, there was a processional march from Taifa Hall to the Chancellor’s Court flagged off by Prof. Mbithi accompanied by the Kenya Police Band. Local artists such as Ruth Matete, Mr. Seed, Hypeman Guddah and various student dance crews entertained the crowd.