Reformed drug addicts in Mombasa County have decried torture, mistreatment and harassment by the public.
They are sometimes subjected to torture and even brutally killed on false accusations and are now urging the government to protect them adding “we are entitled to basic human rights like any other Kenyans. We deserve equal rights like any other Kenyans”
The reformed drug addicts were speaking in Mombasa during a media sensitization forum organized by Reachout Centre Trust, an anti-drug abuse lobby.
Stigmatized and discriminated
Lilian Ngina, one of the reformed drug addicts cited discrimination and stigma as some of the critical challenges facing them.
“Most of us are brutally murdered on false claims. No one heeds to our plight, not even in police stations,” she lamented
The middle-aged woman who at one time served a 10 years jail term is now a peer educator at Reachout Centre Trust.
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She called on the youth to refrain from drug and substance use adding “it ruins your life. You become a hopeless person in life and lead a miserable life,”
Another reformed drug addict, Hussein Salim, also a peer educator says drug and substance use ruins the victim’s life.
“I call drug addiction a disease. Because one cannot stop once he starts abusing drugs,” said Salim.
He cites bad company as a pull factor into anyone addicted to drugs.
PID rehab centre
Reachout Centre Trust advocacy officer Pili Saria wants the government to set up a rehabilitation centre for drug users.
“As we speak there is no government-sponsored rehab facility in Mombasa. We are seeing an upsurge of victims of drug users,” said Saria.
He admits that drug and substance use is a challenge in Mombasa County.
Reach out centre trust communication officer Thomas Fondo said there exist dozens of talents among people injecting drugs.
He said there is a need for society to consider drug addicts as part of the wider society taking into cognizance their exclusive human rights in line with the constitution.
“There is a need for the family to consider the health of people injecting drugs. They are part of the general populace and must enjoy basic human rights like any other,” said Tom.
A Coastal baseline survey conducted by NACADA in 2016 indicates that Mombasa remains high burden alcohol and drug Abuse County
The survey further reveals that 45.2% of the coastal residents ever used substances of abuse in their lifetime.
It further shows that Kilifi County is leading in terms of at least one substance of abuse at 55.9 % followed by Mombasa 51.0 % Kwale 44.3 % Taita Taveta 43.1 % Lamu 40.3 % and Tana River 39.7 %.
Some of the commonly abused drugs both illegal and illicit in Kenya include cocaine, tobacco, cannabis, heroin and alcohol.