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Scores of youth hooked to heroin, other hard drugs

Barely a week after President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered a crackdown on drugs use and sale in the Coast region, Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya has urged the National government to put up rehabilitation centres to cater for recovering addicts.

Mvurya’s remarks follow reports that more than scores of youth hooked to heroin and other hard drugs in Diani are suffering painful withdrawal syndromes because they can no longer access the substance.

Following the President’s directive, security agencies led by Interior Cabinet secretary Joseph Nkaissery launched the war on drugs at Matuga School of Government in Kwale county on Monday.

Speaking at Mvindeni yesterday, Mvurya wondered why the government never planned how to deal with consequences of the President’s directive, putting addicts’ lives at risk. “Kwale county government is constructing a rehabilitation centre at Kombani and we are now roofing the building.

I am sure that will really assist addicted youths in the area,” he said. Some drug addicts who agreed to be interviewed by People Daily including Peter Mutua, Ali Malingi and Said Kamili said they fear they might succumb to the pain that comes with withdrawal. They said their suppliers are no longer accessible for fear of arrest in the crackdown.

“Our friends are ailing in bed due to the lack of heroin and cocaine. We fear that they may even die,” said Mutua, who revealed he has been on drugs for the last 25 years. He said he resorted to the drug after learning that he had contracted HIV.

“We are asking President Uhuru Kenyatta to help us access methadone which was promised us,” he said. Methadone is an opiate prescribed by doctors to recovering addicts as a substitute for heroin.

“If urgent measures are not taken many of us will die due to withdrawal syndrome because we cannot access heroin or methadone. We are experiencing vomiting and diarrhea,” said Mutua.

Malingi, who has used heroin for 22 years, said they are ready to quit the drug if the government helps them recover.. “Arresting and taking us to cells is not a solution,” he said.

Meanwhile, police have arrested 23 suspected drug peddlers in different areas of Kwale county since the crackdown started. Matuga police boss Patrick Oduma said bhang was also recovered in the operation.

“We are not going to spare anyone in this operation. We have arrested a woman and her son after they were found hiding bhang in their house,” he said. Most of the suspects arrested are said to be from Maganyakulo Diani, Shimoni, Kwale town, Msambweni, Lungalunga and Ng’ombeni.

On Wednesday, a suspected drug peddler was gunned down. The man, who was with other suspected peddlers, was gunned down when they reportedly attempted to attack security officers who had raided their den near Kongowea market at 10am. Coast region is the worst hit by the narcotics menace.

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