Number of people using bhang increased by 90% in the last 5 years: NACADA

A recent survey by NACADA on substance abuse in Kenya has raised significant concern about the growing prevalence of cannabis use, especially among the youth. The statistics reveal some startling trends in drug initiation and usage.

These findings reveal that the minimum age for starting various substances, including tobacco, alcohol, and drugs, is staggeringly low, with children as young as 6 years old initiated to tobacco use.

Prescription drugs and heroin have also seen early initiation at eight and eighteen years, respectively, while cocaine use typically begins at twenty years.

The report highlights the almost doubling of bhang use in the past five years, raising concerns about the myths, misinformation, and misconceptions surrounding its harm, especially among the youth.

The numbers unveiled in a comprehensive report, shed light on the gravity of the situation.

Cannabis Prevalence on the Rise:

The National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) report reveals that approximately one in every 53 Kenyans aged 15 to 65 years, totalling a staggering 518,807 individuals, is currently using cannabis.

Among males aged 15 to 65 years, the rate is higher, with one in every 26 individuals (475,770) currently using cannabis. Shockingly, for females, the statistic is one in every 333 (43,037).

Perhaps the most alarming revelation is that the number of cannabis users has skyrocketed by an astounding 90 per cent in just the last five years.

Regional Trends: Nairobi Takes the Lead:

The report also provided insights into regional variations in cannabis usage. The Nairobi region stands out with the highest prevalence of current cannabis use, clocking in at a concerning 6.3%. Nyanza follows at 2.4%, and the Coast at 1.9%.

Youth and Addiction: A Disturbing Reality:

The statistics regarding youth and cannabis usage paint a bleak picture.

Among youths aged 15 to 24 years, one in every 37 individuals (193,430) is currently using cannabis. For those aged 25 to 35 years, it’s one in every 48 individuals (174,142).

Disturbingly, the report also highlights a significant link between cannabis use and depressive disorders with cannabis users facing a risk that is 2.3 times higher compared to non-users.

A Growing Addiction Crisis:

The data further reveals a troubling addiction crisis. One in every 111 Kenyans aged 15 to 65 years (234,855) is addicted to cannabis.

Among youths aged 15 to 24 years, the rate is one in every 77 individuals (90,531), and for those aged 25 to 35 years, it’s one in every 83 individuals (100,468).

Shockingly, a staggering 47.4% of current cannabis users are addicted to its use.

Concerns and Root Causes:

These findings have raised serious concerns about the surging demand for cannabis, particularly among the youth.

Experts point to the low perception of harm associated with cannabis, a perception driven by myths, misinformation, and misconceptions about the substance.



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