Sergeant Moses Kimenchu, an administration police officer based in Murang’a town, stands out among his colleagues in this noble mission. He was among the officers feted by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) for their distinguished services last week.
The 33-year-old officer says when growing up he saw many cases of school dropouts caused by drug abuse. Mr Kimenchu says that his family was not spared by the drug menace as one of his brothers dropped out of school due to addiction.
“I realised right from young age that drugs were affecting many people in the society and vowed to do something to help the affected,” he says.
He adds that though resources were limited, he began creating awareness among school going children.
After joining the force back in 2002, Mr Kimenchu says, he met many people who had fallen into the trap of drug addiction.
The officer says besides providing security for the people around him, he found it necessary to give them information that improves their lives. The soft spoken officer has been holding campaigns against drug abuse by visiting primary and secondary schools targeting the young people.
In addition, he has been visiting churches and in December, he joins initiates after he realized that many were introduced into drugs by their care givers during this time. “The youths are the future leaders in this country, hence I zeroed down on them because they are at higher risks of indulging into drugs as compared to other age groups,” says Mr Kimenchu.
The officer points out that lack of awareness and peer pressure are among the leading causes of drug and substance abuse among the youths and pupils. He says frequent interaction with the youths affected by the drugs menace has helped them to open up, hence beginning the healing process.
He says boys are more susceptible to slip into the trap of drug addiction than girls with the major drugs abused being bhang, tobacco, cigarettes and alcohol.
Among the major contributing factors highlighted by those affected include peer pressure, escalating poverty levels and family backgrounds where the parents especially fathers are drunkards and smokers and do it in the presence of their children.
The officer also points an accusing finger at the parents who often do not counsel their children, leaving them to explore life on their own. Mr Kimenchu says that the war against drug and substance abuse in the country can only be won if all relevant authorities work as a team.
He adds that the government should allocate more resources for awareness creation on drug and substance abuse. Mr Kimenchu also extends his hand to his colleagues by having guidance and counseling sessions aimed at creating self-awareness and managing stress.
Police officers also vulnerable
According to Kimenchu, police officers are also vulnerable to stress and in most cases they indulge in alcohol and substance abuse to suppress the pressure. The officer notes that security officers are prone to drug and substance abuse due to the nature of their duties.
He has, however, faced several challenges as he has to build confidence among his colleagues to make them open up. Among the main reasons cited by officers as cause of stress and drug abuse is peer influence, working environment, traumatising incidences, financial constraints and easy accessibility to drinking sprees among others.
Also Read: Woman dies while running for police job
He says affected officers perform poorly and some of them end up being dismissed from their duties due to misconduct. Despite some officers finding it difficult to manage stress and control their drinking habits, they shy away from going to a rehabilitation centres for fear of stigma and loss of job.
Mr Kimenchu says he is in the process of recruiting over 400 officers in the region to help in creating awareness on drugs and substance abuse. He says the recognition has boosted his morale.