By Laura Otieno,
Kisumu, Kenya – In a poorly lit room on the outskirts of Kisumu in Nyamasaria, 35-year-old Boaz Aron has set up a makeshift recording studio. His house, turned studio, hosts about 30 youths aged between 15 and 21 who at one point were dealing with drug addiction.
As a professional counsellor and teacher, 35-year-old Boaz Aron counsels minors and holds training sessions for the different arts on Sundays. His one-room house, now houses Boom City Fam, a rehab of sorts.
He set it up in 2021, at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, during the imposed lockdown, Boaz ventured into reforming drug addicts. Most youths under him had run away from home and ventured into crime, due to strained relations with their parents.
In a report published by the National Council Against Drug Abuse (NACADA) in November 2022, secondary schools were earmarked as introductory grounds for drug abuse among teenagers, where alcohol had the highest use at 3.8%, prescription drugs came second at 3.6%, miraa ranked at 2.6% and cocaine having the lowest prevalence at 0.2%. The familiar sources of drugs and substances of abuse included shops near the school (28.6%); bars near the school (25.7%); friends (19.3%); bought from other students (13.7%); and school workers (13.6%).
In addition, the National Survey on the Status of Alcohol and Drug Abuse among Primary School Pupils in Kenya (NACADA, 2018) indicated that the average age of onset of at least one drug or substance of abuse was 11 years. The lowest age of onset of at least one prescription drug of abuse was 4 years. The report, however, recommended the formation of a community framework, that will ensure holistic teaching of teenagers of the dangers of indulging in drugs while assessing existing gaps in the education curriculum to introduce time-conscious efforts to tame drug abuse.
This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Laura Otieno and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union or those of Mobile Journalism Africa.