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Desperate Kayole youths find solace in drugs


Helplessness and desperation seems to define many youths in Kayole. The youths say the society looks down on them and dismisses them as useless.

Politicians use them during campaigns and elections and immediately turn their backs against them thereafter. They supply them with drugs and alcohol to do their bidding.

The jobs promised are never forthcoming. The abandoned youths then seek solace in drugs and alcohol. They are, henceforth, treated as dangerous and a threat to society.

“People mistake us. Some of us are learned, but we have been unable to get jobs. The economy is tough and it does not favour the poor. We suffer a lot, and for someone to forget the stress, we turn to drugs,” one of them who chose not to be named told Ghetto Radio.

Youths who spoke to Ghetto Radio said they also have families to take care of. They depend on menial jobs in slums and betting.

Others join criminal gangs to make ends meet. “We look for all means for survival including stealing. Our families need to eat; we need to pay rent and our children need to go to school,” one of them told Ghetto Radio

A number of them are killed. Police are their enemies. They live in fear of being killed or arrested. They go into hiding and get exposed to all type of drugs. The hideouts are their safe havens.


Anti- narcotic activist and the founder of SOBER YOUTH SOBER NATION Beth Mengo confirms receiving hundreds of reports about killings, harassment and mistreatment of youths.

“We receive many cases from youths and to tell you the truth, being a youth in these streets seems like a crime. Youths are not treated equally. They are easily victimized,” Mengo Said

Young slum women also use drugs and engage in prostitution for survival. Some get married at a very early age. Mengo says most of them who are from poor backgrounds in Kenya get married at an early age to escape from poverty.

There is a glimmer of hope, however. Some of Youths led by led by Mengo have formed  an initiative to help drug addicts.  The group preoccupies the addicts with activities like music performance and any cleaning up slum villages.

Hosea Wanyoike the co-founder also confirms the little improvement they have managed to achieve since the inception of the initiative.

“Since we the initiative started we have manage to make some noticeable changes in the society, some of the youths were hardcore criminals and drug addicts but we have manage to talk to them and majority  have change,’’ Wanyoike states.

Wanyoike also states the need of the security agents to have friendly dialogue with the suspected criminals and drug addicts before taking action

“My clarion call  to the government  agency to embrace dialogue  with the youths before taking action, I strongly believe dialogue works because majority of the youths we had counselling  session with have change,” Wanyoike added

A survey by the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse{NACAADA} shows that bhang is the most widely used drug in Kenya among those aged 15–65 years.

By Rodgers Oduor