A report on Alcohol and Drug abuse baseline survey has revealed that drug trafficking across Busia and Uganda border is alarming, with 89.4 percent of the residents interviewed admitting there is infiltration of drugs into the country.
The report released by the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) at the Busia Agricultural Training Centre indicated that Marijuana, commonly known as ‘bhang’ was the most drug being trafficked into the Country via porous borders.
NACADA Regional manager for Nyanza and Western Region Esther Okenye said other commonly trafficked drugs include ‘chang’aa’ and cigarettes, second generation alcohol including those packaged in sachets, khat commonly known as ‘miraa’ and street drug ‘kuber’.
She said the most common modes of trafficking reported are through boda bodas, trucks and lorries, private vehicles, physically challenged persons and young and elderly women.
Some of the challenges faced in curbing drug trafficking according to the report include corruption by law enforcement officers, lack of harmonized laws between Kenya and Uganda to suppress the supply of alcohol and drugs across the common border and cultivation of bhang in Uganda which is cheaply available.
Others are poor coordination among enforcement officers, existence of large unmanned porous borders, proliferation of boda bodas, which are preferred for trafficking drugs, availability of cheap alcohol across the Uganda border, high unemployment rate among the youth, lack of common border programs to tackle drug trafficking and high level of alcohol and drugs in the community.
Okenye also revealed that NACADA will launch a pilot survey in Matayos Sub County on prevention science with an emphasis on strengthening the family component of prevention science, adding that the program will start in the next financial year.
She said that alcohol is generally acceptable in the communities. She told consumers to take it sparingly, adding that the effects on one’s health have far-reaching effects.
Busia Deputy Governor Kizito Wangalwa presided over the official launch of the report on behalf of Governor Sospeter Ojaamong. He said the County Government will legalize busaa to be sold in clubs and discard it from homes to discourage children from accessing the brew at a tender age.
Busia County Director Patrice Lumumba said Busia is sitting on a time bomb if the youth are allowed to be aligned with alcohol abuse. He said bhang is the most abused drug with Bunyala and Teso South taking the lead, adding that second generation alcohol especially sachets trafficked from Uganda are the second most abused drug.
Busia County Chief Executive Committee Member for Youth, Sports, Culture and Social Services Martin Kafwa said Busia is the first County after Murunga to come up with the directorate of Alcohol and Drugs Control and the first to develop a strategic plan and commission the survey.
The survey covered 698 randomly selected residents of the County from all the seven sub counties of Teso North, Teso South, Matayos, Nambale, Butula, Samia and Bunyala.
According to the findings awareness of alcohol accounts for 98.4 per cent, tobacco (96.7%) and bhang (80.1%). The survey also shows that 21.8% of Busia County residents have ever used at least one substance of abuse while 20.1% are currently using alcohol, 3% tobacco and 1.7% bhang.