FACTORS INFLUENCING SUBSTANCE ABUSE AMONG FISHER FOLK PROJECTS IN HOMA-BAY COUNTY IN MBITA CONSTITUENCY, KENYA

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ABSTRACT

The increasing rural poverty has motivated the fisher folk community to develop
coping strategies to mitigate the accompanied risks and challenges. One such strategy
is establishment of fisher folk projects. However, though an economic and survival
strategy, it has associated challenges such as substance abuse among the projects‟
stakeholders. Although there exists a certain body of knowledge regarding substance
abuse among different communities, studies on how substance abuse influences
community projects are limited. This study is aimed to establish factors influencing
substance abuse among fisher folk projects in Homa-Bay County in Mbita
Constituency. To accomplish this, the study focused on four objectives; to examine
the influence of prevalence of alcohol and drugs on substance abuse among the fisher
folk projects, to assess the influence of legal framework on substance abuse among
the fisher folk projects, to establish the influence of level of awareness of substance
abuse among community members on substance abuse among the fisher folk projects
and to analyze the influence of socio-economic status on substance abuse among the
fisher folk projects. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design. The total
target population was 1,604 stakeholders of fisher folk projects in Mbita
Constituency. The population was stratified into 4 categories along which projects
were formed. A sample size of 310 projects‟ stakeholders was selected from the target
population. Data was collected through administration of questionnaires and Schedule
interviews. The collected data then was processed and analyzed qualitatively and
quantitatively. Summaries of findings revealed that drugs are easily available 68.8%
to the fisher folk and had resulted to them abusing substance on a daily basis, most
commonly abused drugs being alcohol 62.3% and marijuana 28.1% respectively;
Beach leader 23.6% is leading the authority in the beach responsible for disciplinary
actions against those abusing substance. Majority 62.3% and 64% of the fisher folk
were not aware of Alcoholic Drinks Act, 2010 and NACADA Authority respectively,
as well as its roles. It was so evident that fisher folk community is aware of the
availability of substance abused 87% and their supplies which are majorly bars/ pubs
and specific dealers as well as the effects of substance abuse on project stakeholders.
Finally, the study revealed that the main economic activity in the beaches is fishing
87% and majority 45% of the fisher folk have low income, conversely a majority
43.6% spend between Ksh.1000-5000 on substance abuse on a monthly basis. As
such, the study recommended among other measures; reduction of prevalence of
drugs/alcohol, improved legal framework, increased creation of awareness raising
activities and finally need to improve the economic status of the fisher folk
community to reduce the over reliance of one major economic activity.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study
Alcohol and drug abuse is recognized as a global threat with ramifications on people‟s
health, social-economic and cultural welfare. The total number of drug users in the
world is now estimated at about 200 million people, equivalent to about 5 percent of
the global population (WHO, 2011). It is estimated that between 155 and 250 million
people (3.5%-5.7% of the population aged 15-64) used illicit substances at least once
in 2008 (UNODC, 2012). The harmful use of alcohol is a worldwide problem
resulting in millions of deaths, including hundreds of thousands of young lives lost. It
is not only a causal factor in many diseases, but also a precursor to injury and
violence. Furthermore, its negative impacts can spread throughout a community or a
country, and beyond, by influencing levels and patterns of alcohol consumption
across borders (WHO, 2011).
In Hong Kong, a study on drug abuse among youths and family relationship revealed
that there is about 5% prevalence of drug abuse among youth of aged 15-24. A higher
prevalence was not found among school children but those who are working or school
drop-out and unemployed. The drug abusers also have similar risk profiles with other
deviant behaviors such as deliberate self harm, smoking and drinking. From the
experiences of front-line social workers and research studies, Hong Kong experiences
the “normalization” of drug use, especially among marginal youth. The major
problem is that they do not consider themselves as having problems or in need of help
(Cheung et al., 2011).
A study in Nigeria by Dimelu, Agbo and Igbokwe (2011), revealed that choice of
alcoholic beverage was a function of several factors namely alcohol availability,
ability to produce the alcohol, cost and others. Effects of alcohol consumption were
evident by less commitment to livelihood activities, household‟s welfare, incidents of
violence and others. The study recommends that policies should be enacted to regulate proliferation and operation of alcohol enterprises in the rural areas. More
importantly is the regulation of the type of alcohol marketed in the communities. Also
government should promote programmes that target improved livelihood strategies
and empowerment of rural people to enhance diversification of the rural economy.
According to Ng‟etich (2013), drug abuse in Kenya is taking a new shape with people
going for low cost substances. Though there is a decline of people aged between 15 to
65 years who use drugs in the last five years from 48.3 per cent in 2007 to 37.1
percent in 2012, those going for chang‟aa and hard drugs are increasing. In addition, a
study by Chesang (2013), in the study on drug abuse among the youth in Kenya
revealed that, in Nairobi alone 50% of students have in the past taken drugs. Half of
these have become regular users. Up to 30 – 40% in class seven, eight and form one
have taken drugs at one time or another. The study also revealed that, abused drugs
are available next to every family‟s door. They are available everywhere anytime; in
kiosks, bars, social gatherings and over the counter. They are available in every street
corner, sold by the people in the streets and other specialized gangs.
County Governments are responsible for; county legislation outlined in article 185 of
the constitution of Kenya, executive functions outlined in article 183, functions
outlined in the fourth schedule of the constitution of Kenya, functions transferred
from the national government through article 187 of the constitution of Kenya and
establishment and staffing of public service under article 235 of the constitution of
Kenya (Laws of Kenya, the Constitution of Kenya, 2010; chapter eleven & thirteen).
Therefore in relation to drug and substance abuse, NACADA has expended mandate
to assist and support county governments in developing and implementing policies,
laws and plans of action on control of drug abuse. Therefore, this study intends to
establish factors influencing substance abuse among fisher folk projects in Homa-Bay
County, Mbita Constituency. The study will be useful to NACADA Authority in its
bid to support County Governments in developing and implementing policies, laws
and plans of action on prevention and control of drug abuse at the County level,
reducing prevalence of drugs/alcohol among the fisher folk and thus enhancing
projects‟ sustainability.
1.2 Statement of the problem
According to a study by Okoko (2012), it is estimated that 30.67% of students in
public secondary schools in Dhiwa District in Homa-Bay County use alcohol, 22.67%
use tobacco and 19 % use Bhang. Some students (2%) were found to have abused
other drugs such as Kuber and cobbler‟s glue. This tends to concur with a study done
by Ndetei, Khasakhala, Mutiso, Ongecha, Owuor and Kokonya (2010) on drug use in
rural secondary schools in Kenya where most common substance abused prevalence
rates ranges from 5.2% alcohol, 3.8% tobacco, 3.2% khat and 1.7% bhang. The youth
have fallen victim of this syndicate where the use of emerging abused drugs such as
Kuber and shisha are relatively high. According to Kahuthia, et al., (2013) there are
forty one (41) emerging drugs in both Nairobi and Mombasa Counties.
A study by NALEP (2009),revealed that the fisher folk reported the highest level of
expenditure on drug and other substances with 46.2% spending between Ksh. 1000-
Ksh.5000 monthly followed by livestock farmers with 34.2% spending between Ksh
500-Ksh 1,000 monthly while 33.2% of crop farmers spend less than Ksh 500.This is
happening despite the fact that NACADA Authority is mandated with the
responsibility to control alcohol and drug abuse through public campaigns and
implementation of supply and demand reduction strategies in the country. Its impact
especially among the youth in rural areas is wanting.
Fisher folk get relatively high income from fishing activities which they use in
implementing community projects with an aim of boosting their living standards and
general welfare. However the high rate of prevalence of alcohol and drugs along the
beaches influences many fisher folk into substance abuse which in turn influences the
sustainability of the projects initiated. Most of their income is diverted to alcohol and
drugs (NALEP, 2009). Casual observations further show that substance abuse
influences negatively their ability to participate in project‟s identification processes,
Project‟s activities, governance and Monitoring & Evaluation leading to ad hoc
project termination. Therefore there is need to establish factors influencing substance
abuse among the fisher folk projects in Mbita constituency, in Homa-Bay County,
Kenya.
1.3 The purpose of the study
The purpose of this study was to establish factors influencing substance abuse among
the fisher folk projects in Homa-Bay County in Mbita Constituency, Kenya.
1.4 Objectives of the study
The study was guided by the following objectives:

  1. To examine the influence of prevalence of alcohol and drugs on substance abuse
    among the fisher folk projects in Mbita Constituency.
  2. To assess the influence of legal framework on substance abuse among the fisher
    folk projects in Mbita Constituency.
  3. To establish the influence of level of awareness of substance abuse among
    community members on substance abuse among the fisher folk projects in Mbita
    Constituency.
  4. To analyze the influence of socio-economic status on substance abuse among the
    fisher folk projects in Mbita Constituency.
    1.5 Research questions
    The study was guided by the following research questions:
  5. How does prevalence of alcohol and drugs influence substance abuse among the
    fisher folk projects in Mbita Constituency?
  6. How does legal framework influence substance abuse among the fisher folk
    projects in Mbita Constituency?
  7. How does level of awareness of substance abuse among community members
    influence substance abuse among the fisher folk projects in Mbita Constituency?
  8. How does socio-economic status influence substance abuse among the fisher folk
    projects in Mbita Constituency?
    1.6 Significance of the study
    It is hoped that the research findings may be of great significance to all the fisher folk
    projects‟ stakeholders in Mbita Constituency in facilitating their projects‟
    development and sustainability. Similarly, the findings may be useful for further
    improvement of the government policies related to alcohol and drug use, particularly
    through NACADA. The study is expected to bring to light the factors influencing
    substance abuse among fisher folk projects and this may obligate the fisher folk
    projects‟ management team to put into place preventive measures of substance abuse
    by availing training structure of effects of substance abuse to project‟s stakeholders.
    If these findings are implemented by the fisher folk projects, sustainability of the
    project may be enhanced and the positive impact felt in the community. The findings
    may be useful to the counseling, treatment and rehabilitation centers and the Civil
    Society Organizations (CSO) in rethinking policy issues in relation to prevention and
    control of alcohol and drug abuse. The study findings may also provide reference
    materials for future research in the study area and may trigger future research or form
    a basis for future research.
    1.7 Delimitation of the study
    The study was focused on establishing factors influencing substance abuse among
    fisher folk projects in Mbita constituency, particularly among the fishing beaches
    found within the five wards. Prevalence of drugs/alcohol, legal framework, level of
    awareness and socio-economic status were viewed by the study as key factors
    influencing substance abuse among fisher folk projects. Mbita Constituency was
    chosen as a research site because of its proximity to numerous fishing beaches along
    Lake Victoria and the researcher had familiarized himself adequately with the
    constituency. The sample population from these beaches made it possible to get useful
    and reliable information on the subject of the study. The study was focused on the
    fisher folk projects which were stratified into four strata from which the target
    population was drawn. A thorough training of research assistants on the required data
    greatly enhanced the response rate and reliability of data collected.
    1.8 limitations of the study
    The level of literacy and understanding as to the purpose of the research varied from
    one respondent to the other. This was expected to result into different suspicion
    among the respondents. As such, a letter of transmittal was sought and this was used
    to explain the sole academic purpose of the study to the respondents. This being a
    research on a highly sensitive area, respondents were reluctant to freely provide information that they considered sensitive especially those directly abusing drugs. The
    researcher sought to offer incentives to such respondents. A few respondents were
    reluctant to provide information that they considered sensitive especially for projects
    that had registered failure in their activities. The researcher assured them of the
    utmost confidentiality of the information they gave.
    1.9 Assumptions of the study
    The study was premised on the assumptions that the respondents responded
    adequately to the enquiries and that they provided information in good faith to allow
    for generalization of the findings.
    1.10 Definitions of Significant Terms as used in the study
    Awareness of substance abuse: the knowledge of misuse/abuse of drugs and alcohol
    and or increasing the knowledge about alcohol and drug abuse, through public
    campaigns, education and training.
    Fisher Folk Projects: These are projects which are initiated for the benefit of the
    fishermen (both men and women), to boost their living standards and general welfare.
    Legal framework: National laws and policies on which decisions are based
    concerning alcohol and drug use; set of measures in a jurisdiction or society aimed at
    minimizing the health and social harms from substance abuse.
    Prevalence of Alcohol and drugs: Described the total number of cases related to
    substance abuse for example when a person starts taking drugs regularly, the drugs
    produce tolerance, addiction, withdrawals and psychological dependence etc and the
    availability of drugs and alcohol in the society.
    Socio-economic characteristics: Basically are signs or conditions of an individual in
    terms of society, culture, and environment, his interaction in society, education and
    financial status that may influence an individual or groups of people to substance
    abuse.
    Substance abuse: The use of a drug or alcohol by an individual or a group of people
    to the extent that it is resulting into a problematic behavior and likely to cause harm to the user and the society in which they function; the overindulgence in and dependence
    on an addictive substance, especially alcohol or a narcotic drug.
    1.11 Organization of the study
    Chapter one introduced the study, giving the global, regional and national perspective
    of substance abuse. The problem under the study was identified; objectives were set
    and research questions derived from the objectives. The significance of the study was
    spelt out clearly, purpose of the study, delimitation of the study, limitation of the
    study, definition of key terminologies as used in the study and study organization then
    followed. Chapter two gave a detailed review of relevant literature studies on the
    problem under study. The themes based on the objectives under the study were
    discussed empirically. The theoretical framework was then discussed in detail.
    Chapter three discussed the study methodology covering the research design,
    sampling procedure and data collection methods adopted by the study. Chapter four
    presented data analysis and interpretation of findings and presentations. Data was
    presented according to the themes based on the objectives under the study. Chapter
    five finally gave the summary of findings based on each theme, presented the
    conclusions of the findings while comparing the findings of related studies and
    recommendations were given for each theme under study.

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