How drug peddlers smuggle heroin into Mathari Hospital
Drug addicts perceive rehabilitation centres an excellent opportunity to reclaim their lives from the painful hold of addiction.
Powerless to resist the pull of addictions, rehabilitation centres were established to help patients make positive changes in their lives by rectifying maladaptive behaviors.
They were also set up to help victims live a drug-free life.
Addicts are often eager to be declared fully rehabilitated and ready to go home.
However, this is not the case as a majority of rehab facilities are still battling to keep drugs away from creative, ingenious patients who are desperately in need of them.
When People Daily visited Mathari Hospital, Drug Rehabilitation Unit, the team established that the facility is struggling to disrupt drug smuggling network, which is increasingly becoming difficult.
For instance, heroin and bhang are readily available, making it difficult for the rehabilitation programme to efficiently work.
With a number of the patients placed under methadone treatment, many have used this opportunity to source for more drugs. Methadone is a medication aimed at detoxifying the body.
Juma Abubakar, 50, a heroin peddler, says a number of his clientele are the addicts admitted at the facility.
Abubakar says heroin is readily available in the market. It only depends on his clients’ orders.
He notes that drugs can range from Sh100 to Sh1,000 depending on the quantity.
He revealed to People Daily the extent of the rot in the hospital’s system, and recounted how easily patients can access drugs in the comfort of their rooms.
He says that lack of jobs has forced a number of them to continue with the business to provide for their families.
“Trust is paramount in this business. The addicts are very comfortable sending us,” said Abubakar.
Simon Mwathi, another peddler and self proclaimed reformed addict revealed that the drug can either be injected, or placed in cigarettes and bhang for it to become ‘effective’.
Mwathi recounts a case where one of his clients who had been admitted with mental illness died after injecting himself with the drug.
“After that incident, we decided to work with trust and we became strict on those who are receiving the consignments,” said Mwathi.
However, Mathari Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Joseph Jumba has denied allegations of any drug smuggling and peddling at the facility.
He termed the claims untrue and unwarranted.
He promised to take up full investigations to unearth the syndicate that constantly supplies drugs to addicts and other mental patients at the hospital.
“We will undertake thorough investigations to establish the authenticity of the allegations, and if indeed there are any truths in it, an action would be taken against all those implicated,” said Jumba.
According to him, those admitted are restricted from interacting with outsiders.
However, counselors at the facility who spoke on condition of anonymity revealed that since the Covid-19 pandemic, a number of patients undergoing methadone treatment have been flocking the facility.
The counselors added that proximity to the neighboring Mathare and Mlango Kubwa slums has also been a contributing factor to the surge in the drug trafficking business at the facility.
In 2015, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed an immediate crackdown on drugs, dealers and their dens.