Police sergeant, dedicated to rehabilitating drug addicts, awarded honorary Doctorate degree
A police officer who has dedicated his life to his passion for a sober society was recently awarded a degree of Doctor of Humane Letters for his work in rehabilitating alcoholics and drug users.
Sergeant Moses Kimenchu who is a professional addiction counsellor and a mediator was awarded the highly coveted doctorate by Breakthrough International Bible University.
The degree of Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa) is an honorary degree awarded to those who have distinguished themselves through humanitarian and philanthropic contributions to society. Dr. Kimenchu started the rehabilitating and counselling journey as part of an initiative dubbed kaa sober chapa kazi in 2010.
“I started the journey as a young officer and I have faced several challenges along the way and even contemplated quitting a few times,” he said.
Sergeant Kimenchu who joined the police service in 2002 says he has met many people who have fallen into the trap of drug addiction, something he said has not been pleasing to him.
“I realized I was leading sick people in the society and I had to think of a way I could help them,” the officer said, adding that’s why in the early years of his career he enrolled for a short course on drug and substance abuse, which has become his tool in accomplishing his mission.
Driven by passion to save young people from the menace of indulging in alcohol and drug abuse, the big hearted police officer then launched an intensive campaign to create awareness on drugs and substance abuse among the young people targeting primary and secondary schools.
The sergeant says the positive reception and interactions with young people were a great motivation to him at the beginning.
“I only needed to build confidence in those children and they were able to open up and share their experiences and we got amicable solutions where possible,” he remarked, observing that boys are more vulnerable to falling into the trap of drug addiction than girls.
The sergeant says he saw a gap in the society that led to many people, especially the youth being wasted away and others dying due to drug abuse and decided to step up in his own small way.
He disclosed that he has had a personal struggle with addiction and one of his brothers was also addicted to drugs and he dropped out of school, noting that rehabilitating him was extremely challenging and this made the fight against alcoholism and drug abuse personal to him.
This close encounter with addiction, he says, put a burden in his heart to educate the young people, especially those in school, on the adverse effects of drug abuse and how it can ruin their future, hoping to prevent addiction.
Dr. Kimenchu having started his rehabilitation journey by speaking to schools and churches later founded a rehabilitation centre known as Sergeant Savior Mentorship and Counseling Centre (SMECC) in the outskirts of Murang’a town.
“We started the rehabilitation centre in 2015 after a successful campaign dubbed kaa sober, where we rehabilitated 15 people,” he said.
“We saw the need for a centre, where we would give recovering addicts food and shelter as they received treatment and mentorship,” he added.
Speaking about the rehabilitation process and its challenges, the sergeant explained that the after-care once the patients leave the rehabilitation centres is a big determinant as to whether the person will remain sober.
At SMECC we ensure that the client has a good support system in place as well as an income generating skill as a way to ensure the rehabilitation has a high chance of success and those rehabilitated become productive members of the society,” he said.
He sadly noted that hundreds of young people have had their lives wasted due to use of drugs, shutting their dreams and cautioned parents to spare time even with busy schedules to be with their children as a preventive measure.
“Some of these young people find themselves in such situations because they have no one to advise them to help them make better choices as parents are having a hard time balancing work and parental responsibilities,” Kimenchu said.
He says he believes in creating a drug free society which can only be achieved if the young people are discouraged from using drugs as this would be better for the society than waiting to rehabilitate them when they are already addicted.
“I believe if we teach our young people to keep away from drugs and inculcate this culture in them it would be easier for us to fight this menace which is deeply rooted in our society than with rehabilitation,” he added.
Dr. Kimenchu urged the public to reduce stigma towards those fighting various addictions, but instead help them seek the help they require.
He also requested the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) to include rehabilitation from drugs and substance abuse as part of their medical cover so that more Kenyans can have access to rehabilitation and treatment.
Dr. Kimenchu advised all Kenyans struggling with addictions to seek professional help and counselling in the existing rehabilitation centres as soon as they realise they have a drug problem, so as to turn their lives around and continue being productive members of the society.
Over the years, Dr. Kimenchu has helped rehabilitate many people here in Kenya and he was among 26 candidates shortlisted by the university for the award of the honoris causa degree, where he emerged the winner.
This story was first published by the Kenya News Agency