Drug abuse in Kenya: Information, needs, resources and analysis (INRA) project for Kenya
This is a report of Information, Needs and Resources Analysis, (fNRA) survey carried out in Kenya in July 200 1. The survey team comprised a Professor of Psychiatry, David Ndetei from the Nairobi Psychotherapy Services and Institute (NPSI), Dr. Donald A. Kokonya, Francisca A. Ongecha, Mr. Leonidas Msafiri and Mr. Abel Ndumbu and Ms. Victoria Mutiso. The UNDep team comprised Dr. Rebecca McKetin and Mr. Mathew Warner-Smith who provided facilitative support. This survey sought to establish Kenya's capacity for collecting information on drug abuse. INRA is primarily focussed on assessment of existing information and sources on drug abuse and the identification of key needs. It is also expected to propose a development strategy for establishing an integrated drug information system for monitoring drug abuse trends and associated problems in Kenya. The purpose of such a drug information system is to provide a database which can be used to formulate policy and institute intervention programmes on drug abuse. The information contained in this report was obtained by interviewing a cross-section of leaders of a number of relevant institutions in Government, the Private and NGO sectors as well as individual persons - all of whom are stakeholders in matters of drug abuse. The survey covered Nairobi and its environs only and aimed at providing a starting point for similar work throughout the country. The information gathered indicated that drug abuse has been the subject of study for a number of academic theses, but operational research on the subject has been mute. The existing information shows that the most abused drugs in Kenya are alcohol and Cannabis sativa (bhang) which is grown in a few isolated parts of the country. But there are reports of somewhat isolated cases of cocaine, heroin, mandrax, hallucinogens, amphetamines and solvents. Khat (miraa) which contains a banned psychotropic substance (cathinone) is widely consl1med among certain sections of the Kenyan community has become a major export crop to Somalia and further afield. There have also been cases of addiction to prescribed analgesics and sedatives. In recent years, Kenya has become a transit 'zone' (mainly from Pakistan to the west) for traffickers as a result of its long and porous boundaries; Nairobi being a major communication city and with a relatively low demand for local consumption. The survey team identified a number of existing sources of information on illicit drugs which can make valuable contributions to an integrated drug information system. These range from treatment data from the national and teaching hospital - Mathari Hospital to alcohol and drug rehabilitation and detoxification centres run by NGOs and private companies as well as advocacy agencies involved in counselling and Information, Education and Communication (lEC) activities. The Central Bureau of Statistics would be the source of information on drug abuse in its household survey. The Central Bureau of Statistics is, upon request by NACADA, planning for a national baseline survey to establish drug abuse prevalence in Kenya. A household survey will follow thereafter. As elsewhere existing sources of data need to be supplemented with specialized drug abuse surveys in order to obtain a more comprehensive and reliable assessment of the situation particularly as regards the abuse of drugs in educational institutions. Kenya has a very strong manpower base as regards research and studies on drug abuse information systems. Administratively, Kenya has created a central agency responsible for coordination of activities on drug abuse - NACADA, the National Agency for the Campaign Against Drug Abuse. A steering committee for a network on drug abuse has already been established and is working towards the formation of the network which will playa supportive role to NACADA.