NACADA Reports 90% Increase in Cannabis Use Among Kenyans

February 13, 2024

The National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) has raised an alarm about the increasing use of marijuana in the country.

During a night raid on weed dens in Mtwapa, Kilifi County, on Saturday, NACADA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Anthony Omerikwa expressed regret that the consumption of the ‘holy herb’ has risen by 90 percent in the last five years.

“Consumption of bhang in the last five years has gone up by 90 per cent, and based on 2022 research, nearly a million Kenyans are using cannabis sativa; that is, one in every 53 people are using this drug in the country,” said Dr. Omerikwa.

NACADA led a raid at a private residence in Mtwapa, resulting in the arrest of two individuals. Authorities suspect the location serves as a bhang depot.

The arrests occurred in the Kwa Gowa area, with one individual identified as a customer, and the second as one of the caretakers of the residence.

“We have apprehended two suspects with 435 rolls and assorted brooms of Cannabis sativa. One we suspect is the distributor, and the other is the consumer. We have also apprehended his mode of conveying, which is a motorbike,” Dr. Omerikwa mentioned.

Acting on a tip-off from the public, police attached to NACADA raided a three-bedroom house where a substantial consignment of Cannabis was hidden and being prepared for distribution within the coastal region.

Marijuana Use Statistics

Data from a NACADA survey reveals that 518,807 Kenyans aged 15–65 are currently using cannabis, resulting in a national prevalence rate of 1.9 percent.

The report, titled ‘Status of Drugs and Substance Use (DSU) in Kenya, 2022,’ indicates that of this figure, 475,770 are male, while 43,037 are female.

According to the report, a total of 193,430 youths aged 15–24 years (one in every 37) are currently using cannabis, equating to a 2.7 percent prevalence.

For those aged 25–35, the figure stands at 174,142 (one in every 48), resulting in a 2.1 percent prevalence rate.

The data reveals that overall, 234,855 Kenyans aged 15–65 years, or one in every 111, are addicted to cannabis and exhibit severe substance use disorders.

In the 15–24 age bracket, the number of marijuana addicts is 90,531 (one in every 77); for 25–35-year-olds, the number is 100,468 (one in every 83), resulting in an overall addiction rate of 47.4 percent.

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