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Number of bhang users in Kenya shockingly high, report shows

A recent survey by the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) on drug abuse in Kenya has raised serious concerns about the growing trend of cannabis use, especially among young people.

The statistics reveal some astonishing trends in drug initiation and use with the minimum age of initiation for various substances, including tobacco, alcohol and drugs being shockingly low, with children as young as six years old being initiated into tobacco use.

The age of onset for prescription drugs and heroin is also early, beginning at eight and eighteen years respectively, while cocaine use typically begins at the age of twenty.

The report highlights the near doubling of bhang use in the last five years and raises concerns about the myths, misinformation and misconceptions surrounding its harms, mostly among young people.

The report further reveals that approximately one in every 53 Kenyans aged between 15 and 65 years, is presently using cannabis.

The rate is higher among males aged 15-65, with one in 26 currently using cannabis compared to the figure for women where one in 333 uses the drug.

Shockingly, the number of cannabis users has skyrocketed by an astonishing 90 per cent in the last five years alone.

Among young people aged 15-24, one in 37 is currently using cannabis whereas one in 48 people aged between 25-35 uses the same.

Worryingly, the report also highlights a significant link between cannabis use and depressive disorders, with cannabis users at 2.3 times greater risk than non-users.

The data also reveals a worrying addiction crisis where one in every 111 Kenyans aged 15-65 is dependent on cannabis.

For young people aged 15 to 24, the rate is one in 77 and for those aged 25 to 35, it’s one in 83. Shockingly, a staggering 47.4 per cent of current cannabis users are dependent.

The findings have raised serious concerns about the growing demand for cannabis, particularly among young people, with experts pointing to the low perception of harm associated with cannabis, a perception driven by myths, misinformation and misconceptions about the substance.

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