The National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) has expressed concern over the alarming rate of bhang consumption amongst youth in Kenya.
This follows a recently released survey on the 'Status of Drugs and Substance Use (DSU) in Kenya, 2022' which shows that the percentage of bhang users in Kenya has increased by 90 per cent in the past five years.
According to the survey released on Monday, September 11, 2023, one in every 53 Kenyans aged between 15 and 65 years is currently using bhang.
Out of the aforementioned figures, 1 out of every 26 males (475,770) is currently using the drug whereas 1 in every 333 women (43,037) are using the substance.
The report revealed that Nairobi accounted for the highest consumption of bhang standing at 6.3 per cent. Nyanza came in as second standing at 2.4 percent and Coast at 1.9 percent.
In addition to that, the survey revealed that one out of every 37 young people (193 430) aged between 15 and 24 years was using the drug while One out of every 48 people (174,142) aged between 25 and 35 was consuming the drug.
The astonishing statistics also revealed a pattern of addiction among young people. According to the survey, one out of 111 people aged between 15 and 65 years (234,855) relies on the drug.
Similarly, for Kenyans aged 15-24, one in every 77(90,531) is dependent on the drug whereas one in every 83 Kenyans aged 25-35 (100,468) is dependent on the drug.
This accounts for 47.4 per cent of the current consumers of the drug.
Nacada has expressed concern over the emerging trends which have seen the number of users skyrocket spontaneously.
The experts have blamed the numbers on the low perception of harm associated with the drug and the myth and misconception connected to bhang.
Nacada vice chair, Anne Mathu expressed that drugs and substance users need love, support and treatment, she also urged people to be kind and compassionate to those dealing with addiction.
"People with substance use disorders need love, support & treatment. Addiction is a disease. Be kind with your words and actions around people with SUDs," she stated.