International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Community Perceptions Regarding Drug and Substance Abuse and Intervention Programmes in Kenya: Implications for Promoting Well-Being for All
Ruth N. Simiyu

The overall objective of this study was to evaluate preparedness of communities for response to drug and substance abuse (DSA) in Kenya. One of the specific objectives examined the perceptions of the communities regarding drugs, DSA and intervention. The study site was Bungoma County, Western Kenya. The parameters of inquiry were perceptions of the community on: effects of drugs, reasons for DSA, sources of drugs, treatment and rehabilitation, vulnerabilities and capacities in the community. The study found diverse opinions in the community on whether and how various drugs are harmful or beneficial to the users. Perceived reasons for DSA were influence from peers and family 246(61.6%); idleness 208(52.1%) and stress/frustration 170(42.6%). Other reasons were medical, where some drugs were perceived to have medicinal value. Household respondents felt that police 235(58.9%) and the chiefs 216(54.1%) were the most suitable for controlling to DSA followed by teachers (42%) and parents 40.6%. Majority of household heads, 257(64.4%) were not confident about handling DSA problems in their households and require training and awareness in all aspects of DSA. Over 50% admitted that they required education and training in all aspects of DSA including: types of drugs, effects of drugs; how to recognize DSA in the family; how to deal with traffickers; how to cope with drug abuse problems among others. The study recommended that there should be more intensive and frequent dissemination of information from research and surveillance to increase awareness. All stakeholders should undergo appropriate formal and informal training, seminars and in-servicing on DSA. These should help to improve the perceptions towards drugs, DSA and intervention. For the purpose of accountability, there is need to appoint a body in every county in Kenya and charge it with the sole responsibility of coordinating activities of prevention, control, intervention and awareness creation. The appointed body should create mechanisms of building and equipping treatment, counselling and rehabilitation centres. It should also work out modalities of ensuring addicts and affected families are reached out to and rehabilitated.

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