Listen first, support don't punish and other anti-drugs campaigns (+ IDADA activities)

4:02:00 PM

Use #IdadaKE to follow Kenyan activities and conversations 
Good afternoon beautiful people,

Hope your week got to a lovely start. I had a high paced weekend from Safaricom's rebrand launch to my 3rd Akili ni Mali pop up at the K1 Flea Market on Sunday (looking forward to hosting you all at  our 4th Akili ni Mali pop up at the K1 Flea Market which is a night market - going on till 10p) and two meetings yesterday. Today is my off day, more of cool down day which is doubling up as my writing catch up day. Special thanks to everyone who has sent oped suggestions my way,after my call out. So far, I have done a piece that went up on Huffington Post last week  I have another that's looking for a home and reworking another to be pitched soon...keep those suggestions coming. I also finally got a 'formular' for the Akili ni Mali blog series so look out for that series in a week's time - kindly subscribe to this blog via the subscription tab to get all these delivered straight to your inbox.

After my TED talk went live, I have gotten truck loads of emails from people across the globe, some living with epilepsy and others who wanted to school me on the 'magic marijuana would work on my epilepsy diagnosis' - that's a subject for another day. So over the weekend, when I got an invitation from the Assistant Director of the Mental Health Unit to join a Monday morning meeting at the Ministry of Health whose main agenda was to discuss International Day against Drug Abuse (IDADA), I was eager to attend and hear Kenya's stand on this discussion and a lot more. Across the globe, the conversation of drugs begins from illicit trafficking to links with HIV, mostly where people share needles, the legalisation of different types especially marijuana and provision of clean spaces, needles (and sometimes uncontaminated drugs) to comparisons of effects with legalised ones like alcohol which is said to cause more damage and harm to oneself and the community.
Monday morning meetings at Ministry of Health for IDADA ( International Day Against Drug Abuse) discussions
A quick background, IDADA was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1987 and is marked on 26 June each year as a reminder of the goal agreed to by UN Member States of creating an international society free of drug abuse. There are currently two main campaigns around IDADA,
- 'Listen First' whose focus is prevention, geared towards families and communities to listen to children and youth and create a conducive environment at home so that they aren't 'swayed' into drugs and substance abuse.
- 'Support don't Punish' whose focus is on care, geared towards law enforcement and the general public to consider getting support for those who are dependent on drugs, as opposed to locking them up.

Since Monday also happens to be Idd, the marking of IDADA has been split into activities happening across the country before and after June 26, culminating with the launch of the National Substance Use Disorders Treatment ( SUDT) protocol by the Ministry of Heath in collaboration with the World Health Organization on June 28. Other events happening across the country, and the interwebs, are listed below, chronologically. You can contribute to the conversation online using #IdadaKE.

  •  Friday 23rd June - The University of Nairobi have an activity packed day that starts with a walk, games, yoga, narrations by those in recovery, information desks on substance abuse and where to get support plus screening for HIV, cervical cancer, breast cancer and blood sugar testing. 
  • Saturday 24th June - Medicines Du Monde (MDM) will have a closed door sensitization meeting the administration police from Kawangware which will focus on the support don't punish campaign. In attendance will be police officers and those who have been under the MDM drug rehabilitation program and the event is aimed at brainstorming on how the police can collaborate with health workers to help addicts access rehabilitation services as opposed to locking them up. 
  • Tuesday 27th June - Tweetchat discussing all matters drug and substance abuse with a panel that includes the ministry of health and other stakeholders in Kenya. The hashtag is #idadake 
  • Wednesday 28th June - the National Substance Use Disorders Treatment ( SUDT) protocol launch in Nairobi hosted by the Ministry of Health and WHO and a cleanup exercise by recovering drug users in Changamwe and Kisauni in Mombasa County under the theme Addiction is curable or Uraibu Una Tiba hosted by KANCO. 
  • Ongoing events - Africa Mental Health Foundation will conduct talks in their clinics providing information on drug and substance abuse and YPCDN are planning an event to discuss the subject with young people. 
  •  In Rwanda, the Health Ministry will be launching a 6 months Drive Against Drug Abuse.
If you or anyone you know needs information or support on substance abuse and/or if you have a story on this subject that you'd like to share, feel free to email me on or use the private message me page.

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