Lamu drug addicts call for speedy completion of rehab centres

Photo of the almost complete rehab centre at Hindi,Lamu West.. It will be the first ever rehab centre in the county./Natasha Nema

Lamu, KENYA: Drug addicts in Lamu are calling for the speedy completion of a rehab centre that’s currently being put up at Hindi division, Lamu West.

The sh.75 million facility is being constructed by the Kenya Red Cross.

During his visit to Lamu last month, Kenya Red Cross Society Secretary General Abbas Gullet said the facility was already 95% complete and would be ready by the end of 2018.

Speaking in Lamu on Friday, representatives of reformed drug users in the region said many addicts were looking forward to the opening of the facility so that they can be helped to turn their lives around.

Khadija Shebwana who has been an addict for more than ten years said there was nothing new for her to explore in the world of drugs and that she was now willing to reform and live a better life.

She said just like her, many addicts in Lamu are tired with the lifestyle of drugs and are more than willing to give life a second shot albeit with the assistance of the rehab facility.

“Personally there is nothing I haven’t seen or done because of drugs and as it is now, I am tired. I want to be sober and try living a meaningful life. I have been mistreated and shoved aside even by my own family and friends,” Shebwana said.

“People don’t want addicts like us close to them, they think we want to steal or do something bad to them. Its not easy living and knowing that you are unwanted. We really want the rehab opened. That’s our only hope now. Many of us want to change, we just need help to do it,” she added.

Athman Khamis who has been an addict for over 13 years now says maintaining such a lifestyle is expensive and as such many are tempted to engage in crime just to sustain their urge.

“I don’t have a job and so getting money on a daily basis to buy drugs is quite challenging. The small casual jobs I do don’t bring in enough, but because it’s hard for an addict to just wake up and quit, we are asking the Red Cross to speed up completion of the rehab,” said Khamis.

Mohamed Islam, another addict, says he is willing to take it upon himself and launch a campaign to convince drug users and addicts in the region to join the rehab once it opens its doors.

Islam said it was heartbreaking that some individuals and organizations had duped them into registering their names on grounds that they would be helped only to realize later that the names were used for their financial gain.

Lamu areas renowned for high drug use include Lamu town, Mtangawanda, Pate, Siyu, Faza, Kizingitini, Mbwajumwali and Tchundwa.

The upcoming rehab centre has a holding capacity of 100.