The Association of Pentecostal and Evangelical Clergy of Kenya (APECK) has bolstered the fight against the scourge of drug and substance abuse in the coastal region through the involvement of clergy to rehabilitate addicts. In August, APECK signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Campaign Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse (NACADA) at the official residence of the Deputy President, witnessed by Pastor Dorcas Rigathi, APECK Patron. The clergy and NACADA will use the community rehabilitation model to rehabilitate drug addicts in the Coast region. The initiative was started in Central by the spouse of the Deputy President Pastor Dorcas Rigathi, so far 125 have reformed and are engaging in economic activities and reunited with their families. More than 300 clergymen from every part of the Coast region have converged in Mombasa to be trained by NACADA on how they can rehabilitate drug users. APECK National Chairman Rev. Fredrick Ngugi says they target rehabilitating one million vulnerable Kenyans working with various government agencies. ‘We aim to bring together all the religious leaders to sensitize them on how they can assist drug addicts. Drug menace is widespread in the country, our youth have indulged in drug abuse, and others have lost their lives, especially in Central and Coast regions,’ said Rev. Ngugi at the Coast Regional Commissioner’s boardroom. Religious leaders, Rev. Ngugi noted, have the wherewithal to talk to the addicts to reform them and be productive in the society. He urged Kenyans not to despise drug addicts as they are patients who shouldn’t be treated as thieves or chased from their families ending up with depression. ‘Drug abuse has claimed the lives of many Kenyans compared to COVID-19,’ said Rev. Ngugi. ‘We have converged here more than 300 clergy from the Coast region. We have agreed to open our church doors to engage drug addicts.’ On his part Bishop Joseph Maisha, APECK Vice Chairman said the drug addicts will get spiritual nourishment from the clergy during and after the rehabilitation epoch. Bishop Maisha says Coast, a major tourist destination in the country has young boys aged between ten and 11 years engaging in daring criminal activities slashing people with pangas in brazen daylight. ‘Drug barons have destroyed the lives of our children, from now on we will be identifying them because the problem starts from somewhere. People walk in fear in Kisauni and Likoni, parents don’t sleep at night because of drug abuse. Since it’s a disease we call for concerted efforts from all churches and other faiths to take the responsibility of fighting drug abuse,’ said Maisha. APECK in partnership with NACADA will visit all the drug dens to identify drug addicts and take them to rehabilitation centers. ‘The government should apprehend drug barons, some of them are influential individuals in the country they must be stopped and stringent laws should be enacted to incarcerate them,’ said Maisha.
Source: Kenya News Agency