International Students puts on notice over drug trafficking

Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS), Dr. Fred Matiang’i on Monday warned International University students against trafficking illicit drug and substance abuse.

He said that International students have turned Universities as an avenue of trafficking and selling of illicit drugs, saying that it poses threats to the health and security of people and regions across the world.

Dr. Matiang’i said that his ministry has deported 30 drug peddlers posing as international students from various universities to curb drug supply in institutions.

The war on drugs comes at a great cost and Kenya like many other countries face challenges due to porous borders which are used for the flow of illicit small arms, human trafficking as well as drug trafficking, said the CS.

Dr. Matiang’i said that many countries across the globe bear the burden generated by trade in illicit drugs, on the health and socio-economic well-being of their populations, as well as security and political stability of some countries.

The CS who was addressing participants in Nairobi during the International Conference on Drug and Law Enforcement (ICDLE) said that drug suppliers have devised numerous strategies to smuggle substances into countries and at times, they have outwitted law enforcement officers to meet their demand.

The conference brings together experts from United States, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Colombia, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Egypt, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Mozambique and South Africa who will present case studies, best practices and experiences.

He stated that Global reports indicate an upward trend in the abuse of drugs and a shift from the use of traditional substances to new drugs including new psychotropic substances (NPS) and Synthetic cannabinoids. According to the World Drug Report for 2017, the number of estimated persons using drugs has steadily increased over the last 20 years.

In 2006, it was estimated that 208 million persons were using drugs which has currently risen to 255 million in 2015. Indeed, out of the 255 million people using drugs, 29.5 million suffer from drug use disorders and eventually requiring treatment and rehabilitation.

On Illicit trade, seizures and arrests, Cannabis remains the most commonly abused narcotic drug in Kenya. In 2016, a total of 8,645 kilograms of Cannabis was seized countrywide. In the same year, 21.7 Kilograms of Heroin was seized. The highest seizure of Heroin was in 2014 following the capture and destruction of a Ship found in the Kenyan Coast with 377.224 kg of heroin.

There is notable increase in trafficking of Cocaine as portrayed by the seizures within the last three years. In 2014, Cocaine seizure was at 11.30kg, 5.96 kilograms in 2015 and 106.3 kilograms in 2016. This is similar to the trafficking of Methamphetamine that has risen from 3.0 kilograms in 2015 to 8.9 in 2016.

As every country puts up effort to address the challenge of illicit drug trafficking, it is imperative that there is regular exchange of information and knowledge, said Matiang’i, adding that the upward trend in the use and abuse of drugs has consequently resulted to increased supply of illicit drugs.

Smugglers have experimented in the manufacture of synthetic drugs such as Amphetamine-type stimulants and new psychoactive substances, these have proved to be more fatal than traditional substances as their composition remains largely unknown, explained the CS.

He revealed that Kenya has set up a Border Management Secretariat that brings under one roof key agencies at the points of entry. These include Pharmacy & Poisons Board, Bureau of Standards, Port Health, Customs, Anti-Narcotics Police Unit, Immigration, Kenya Plants Health Inspection Service and Anti-Terrorism Police Unit.

Being the first regional Ministerial Level conference on the Drug Problem in Eastern Africa will enhance the strategic cooperation between the Member States in the region and globally and also benefit all states present and therefore, contribute to the global fight against illicit drug trafficking and abuse.

Source: Kenya News Agency