Drug Problems

November 2019

It is sad to think there are people who make a living off peddling drugs. The drug situation in the coast of Mombasa is truly enormous. As we walked to the offices of Reachout Center Trust, we met with young boys and girls walking to the Center. They have a drop-in Center where those addicted to drugs come for help and a doctor on site who attends to the addicts immediately when they walk in. It is sad to see how severely drugs have ruined their lives; most of them walk in dazed and barefoot. We were told that some of the addicts come from very well-to-do families, but they run away from home because they have become hooked onto drugs.

The majority of them started with chewing miraa (“khat”). It is common to find even grown-up women chewing the khat at home. The children get used to seeing the herbs at home, and with time, they start chewing, too. It is a very addictive herb; one can stay awake for hours chewing it. They later move on to smoking weed and before long they get onto the harder drugs. Mr. Taib told us that once the addicts start using heroin, it is downhill all the way. Injecting drugs puts the users at risk of HIV infection, Hepatitis C among other diseases.

The Drop-in Center offers prevention and intervention services for those who use drugs. There are those addicts who are eager to quit drugs so that they can get free treatment and meals from the Center.  The Reachout Center aims to guide addicts back to the path of a drug-free life.

Mombasa as a city has been robbed of an energetic workforce because the youth (who should be going to school to get an education and later jobs to support a family), have been swallowed in the drug menace and cannot achieve gainful employment. We were further informed during the meeting that almost every home in the Kibokoni area, where the Center is based, are negatively impacted by drug use.

Prostitution and drug use generally go hand-in-hand. Young girls get involved in prostitution in order to obtain money to support their drug habit. Drug use has also contributed to an increase in the number of homosexuals. Men will offer themselves to other men who are in a position to buy them drugs; the same applies to women. The Center helps sex workers gain meaningful employment by offering them vocational training. They also offer prenatal services for young girls and women who fall pregnant while using drugs, following up with them and supporting them with medical care.  Afterward, the Center provides sanitary towels and supplies for the babies.

They were very impressed with our Choice Club Mentorship Program. They said if they were able to run such a program, they would be able to save many children while they are still young. The administrators requested us to help them set up a program similar to the Choice Club, next year, so they can visit schools and help guide young boys and girls. The rate of school-dropouts in Mombasa county is very high; drugs have a lot to do with this issue. They also asked to visit us next year at a few of the schools to participate in some of our club meetings. As they learn from us, our membership will, likewise, have an opportunity to learn about the hazards of drug abuse and hear firsthand about the difficult life drug abusers suffer. We discussed setting up an exchange program where our club members visit their drug rehabilitation center and also learn about the Swahili culture.  Those at the Center will also learn about the different communities in attendance at the Choice Club membership.

We agreed to have a joint workshop on the 12-14th of December. We will work with a group of 40 young girls and another group of 40 mature women. Both groups are devising a program which we will share soon. They asked that we teach on FGM because it also affects their population, though no one wants to talk about it.

Meeting with Mr. Taib and his team at the Center.

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