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Govt should declare Alcohol abuse a national disaster

29 May 2012, 15:04 Kelvin Wanjohi

The government should declare alcohol abuse a national disaster, a leading drug and substance abuse counselor has proposed.

Frank Njenga who is also chairman of the National Campaign against Drug Abuse (NACADA) Authority observed that alcohol abuse was the number one killer destroying more people than war and all diseases combined.

Njenga noted that by declaring alcohol abuse a national disaster, the government would divert all the necessary machinery and resources
in taming the menace that has claimed many of the country’s youthful and energetic.

He said deaths resulting from alcohol related causes such as accidents, poisoning, violence and suicides were alarming and therefore swift action was necessary to stem the loss of life.

Speaking on Monday at a NACADA organised workshop at a Nyeri hotel on the growing alcohol abuse in Central province, Njenga regretted that the region continued to lead in the number of alcohol related deaths mostly due to consumption of illicit brews.

NACADA Chief Executive Officer William Okedi informed the forum that over 70 people from central province had died due to alcohol abuse in the last few months.

Okedi regretted that alcohol abuse had negatively affected population growth in central province noting that the region was the only one in Kenya where population was on the decline.

“Statistics from national census indicate that population growth in Central Kenya had declined from 1.8% in 1999 to 1.6% in the latest
census in 2009. Enrollment in schools also on a downward trend due to reduced birth rate.” Okide said.

Central provincial Commissioner Kiplima Rugut who opened the two day
workshop said that the number of bars in the province has
significantly been reduced from 9,000 in 2007 to 4,950 by the liquor
licencing committee he chairs.

Mr. Rugut said that alcohol abuse in the region was a major concern
for the government as it was responsible tearing the social fabric as
evidenced in the numerous family and marital conflicts witnessed.

“We still feel that the number of bars is still very high and we
intend to reduce them further down to about 3,000. We do not want to
have a situation where the number of bars is higher than that of
education institutions.” The P.C observed.

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