Kenyan Bhang Smokers Increased by 90% in the Last 5 Years - NACADA

Bhang smoker
A person smoking cannabis (bhang).

A recent study by the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) has revealed that the use of bhang has more than quadrupled since 2017.

According to NACADA, the number of people using cannabis has increased by 90 per cent in the last five years.

The drug abuse educator attributes this significant increase to the several myths and misconceptions that present the drug as low risk and doing less harm than other substances.

Shockingly, the Nairobi region had the highest concentration of cannabis users followed by Nyanza and the Coast region.

A person holding khat leaves.

“The number of people currently using cannabis has increased by 90 per cent in the last 5 years,” the NACADA report read in parts.

Of these users, 47.4 per cent of them are addicted to the drug which like tobacco, alcohol and Khat has been linked to depression.

“The risk of depressive disorder among users of cannabis was 2.3 times higher compared to non-users,” the report went on.

Similarly, alcohol users are at a 2.3 per cent higher risk of suffering from depression compared to non-users. The same applies to tobacco at 2.0 per cent, khat at 1.7 per cent and people who abuse multiple drugs at 2.0 per cent higher risk.

Further, NACADA shed light on the high addiction rates across the board with alcohol coming in second after cannabis at 42.4 per cent, Tobacco at 38.8 per cent and Khat at 22.2 per cent.

Another disconcerting revelation was the tender age at which children got initiated into drug abuse.

Tobacco had the youngest users with the minimum age for its abuse being six years.

This was followed by cannabis(bhang) with a minimum age of 8 years, khat (9 years), prescription drugs (8 years), heroin (18 years) and cocaine (20 years). 

On these statistics, the authority inferred early exposure by parents where impressionable children copy what they see from their parents.

Finally, the drug control body observed that youth aged 25-35 were the most vulnerable to drug and substance abuse.

A photo showing tobacco cigarettes.
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