Varieties Of Drug Abuse And Effects Among Injecting Drug Users In Nairobi County: A Case Study Of Sapta/global Fund Harm Reduction Drop-In Treatment Center
The intensity of drug abuse and specifically injecting drug use (IDU) has been a major concern in recent years. Despite all the efforts being made to control the problem, more and more people get inducted and sucked into the destructive habit. Heroin has the strongest psychological, physiological and physical dependency. The study on IDU was done on the persistence of previous studies conducted in primary schools, secondary schools and tertiary institutions where no studies were individually carried out on IDU. The objectives of the study were; to establish the socio-demographic characteristics of injecting drug users, to identify the predisposing factors leading to drug use among injecting drug users, to determine the types and accessibility to the drugs and establish effects of intravenous drug use among the users. Data were collected using a questionnaire from a randomly selected sample of individuals. In total, one hundred sixty respondents were selected (n=160) from which the study received one hundred fifty responses that were accepted for inclusion in the study representing 93% response rate. Qualitative data was obtained from interviews with six Key informants and three Focus Group Discussions where thirty-six IDUs actively participated in the discussions. From the analysis, the study found out that both genders do inject with heroin, but there are more male than female IDUs. Most of the IDUs are aged between 18 years and 30 years with the majority having been inducted into IDU between the 10-20 age brackets. Most of the IDUs have gone through formal schooling though the frequencies decrease with the increase in educational levels. There is a very close relationship between HIV/AIDS and IDU and dysfunctional families, peer pressure, lack of life skills, sexual abuse, history of drug misuse in the family, easy access, experimentation and abuse of gateway drugs and societal pressures are the predisposing factors. IDUs use other types of drugs together with heroin to potentiate the effect of heroin and manage the effects of withdrawal symptoms. The recommendations from the findings of the study were establishment of specialized rehabilitation centres for IDUs, development of a policy on harm reduction and prevention, establishment of institutions for training addiction counsellors and development of a curriculum on drug and substance abuse for primary and secondary schools to create awareness.
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