Alcohol and Drug Awareness Week 2022
By Patrick Obel
We are aware that Alcohol and Drug abuse exposes students to serious problems including but not limited to disruptions to their studies, risky lifestyle, and injuries from accidents or fighting, and exploitation by drug dealers among other dangers. Some students drop out or end up getting discontinued from the university all the same. Their personal life, friends and family relationships degenerate.
Our campaign this year with the theme: “Defined by choice, know where to draw the line” was therefore aimed at creating awareness on matters regarding alcohol and drug abuse in order for the students to take responsibility for their choices.
In her opening remarks the Associate Deputy Vice Chancellor- Student Affairs, Mrs. Rita Asunda welcomed all the guests and participants. She emphasized the need for all the students to take responsibility to protect their future because statistics show not only in Kenya but the world over that, harmful use of alcohol and drugs is leading to death, disability and increase in non-communicable diseases.
She confirmed that despite the challenges and the loss brought about by alcohol and drug abuse the university is committed towards working to have an alcohol and drug free campus, because “Drugs don’t build, they Destroy”.
Among the guests for the day was Dr. Catherine Amulundu, a clinical Psychologist and a director at Fountain of Hope Treatment Center who made a presentation on treatment options for the affected. She emphasized the need to identify the barriers to seeking treatment and the drivers of resistance to change. She said treatment and recovery is possible and there are specialized services for the same, hence seeking help is the right step to recovery.
Mr. Boniface Ndirangu, the chairman of Addictions Prevention and Rehabilitation Association of Kenya and a Director at Eden House Group shared his own recovery journey as a university student, letting the students be awareness that it is better not to start harmful use of alcohol or drugs or to stop if one has started, because the journey of abuse is progressive and leads to a lot of losses, however he also said that recovery is possible.
Vincent Muasya aka Chipukeezy, a renowned comedian and member of NACADA shared on responsible choices for the youth during the event. He told the audience that there is need to come together, be open and real because alcohol and drug abuse is a crisis. He urged young people to talk to each other and work towards managing alcohol and drug abuse.
Harnessing of people’s strength, engagement in alternative like games, sports, clubs, talents, self-awareness, confidence and courage to face life and let go, emotional intelligence, having healthy relationships and being knowledgeable about alcohol and drug abuse was greatly emphasized throughout the week.
We believe that this awareness campaign served as an awareness and prevention measure for alcohol and substance abuse and will enable members of the USIU-Africa community to be conscious of the issues surrounding the abuse of alcohol and use of illegal substances. Eventually it is our hope that this awareness campaign in the university will lead to a reduction in traffic fatalities, violence, unwanted pregnancy, sexual abuse, sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, injuries, cancer, and heart diseases among others.