Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua lauded the government’s ongoing efforts to curb drug and substance abuse in Central Kenya during a meeting with county assemblies held in Naivasha, Nakuru County on Thursday. He observed that the street value of drugs such as marijuana has risen significantly, a development he attributed to increased scarcity and risk for dealers.
“We are witnessing a positive outcome from our efforts in Central Kenya. The price of a marijuana joint, once Sh100, has quadrupled to Sh400 – a clear indicator of our progress,” Gachagua said.
Gachagua also underscored the necessity of regulating illicit brews and reining in the proliferation of wines and spirits outlets. He proposed that county assembly members should tighten the requirements for opening such retail establishments and scrutinize the number of outlets.
The Deputy President humorously suggested that one should possess a car before being allowed to purchase alcohol from a wines and spirits store. “After all, what business does a pedestrian have in drinking wines and spirits?” he quipped.
Gachagua called on stakeholders – including county assembly members, senators, investigative agencies, prosecutors, legal drafters, Nacada, Kebs, and the Anti-Counterfeit Agency – to devise innovative measures to combat alcohol and substance abuse. He proposed that the strategy used to target marijuana could be applied to alcohol, encouraging manufacturers to cease production of cheap alcohol and thereby making it unattainable for those unable to afford higher-priced alternatives.
Reflecting on his youth, Gachagua recalled that only two retail outlets sold liquor at the Karatina market, and alcohol consumption was largely limited to the affluent and successful. He maintained that by regulating the number of outlets, the government can effectively control alcohol availability and reduce substance abuse in the region.
In April, Gachagua assigned the national government administration team the responsibility of leading efforts to eradicate drugs and illicit brews that have plagued the youth in central Kenya.