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Drug addiction is a complex disease. It is a chronic, relapsing brain disease and involves a combination of ecological, physiological and historical factors. It is not voluntary behavior and is often a fatal illness.

Addiction treatment and rehabilitation in Kenya is largely a private sector and NGO affair dating back to 1978. Treatment and rehabilitation centers are few, operate in a policy vacuum and are expensive for the majority of Kenyans. The development of the National Standards by NACADA and stakeholders, training of professionals on treatment and counseling and developing the credentialing system for addiction professionals are milestones in treatment and rehabilitation.

Treatment services and opportunities may include detoxification, substitution or maintenance therapy and/or psychosocial therapies and counseling.

  • No single treatment is appropriate for all individuals
  • Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his/her  drug use
  • Treatment must address medical, psychological, social, vocational, and  legal problems

The Duration of Treatment

Depends on patient problems/needs. Less than 90 days is of limited/no effectiveness for residential/outpatient setting. Mostly longer treatment is often indicated.

Medical Detoxification

Detoxification safely manages the physical symptoms of withdrawal and any symptoms of psychiatric and emotional disorders.  It is only the first stage of addiction treatment. Alone, it does little to change long-term drug use. The Focus on stabilization and takes a couple of days, usually 3 to 10


  • Refers to the process by which a person presenting with a substance related problem achieves an optimal state of health psychological functioning and social well being devoid of substance abuse.
  • The process may also be rehabilitation depending on clients needs.
  • Typically follows detoxification and, if required, other medical and psychiatric treatment occurs.
  • It encompasses a variety of approaches which may include psycho education ,group therapy, family therapy, specific behavior therapies to prevent relapse, involvement with a self-help group, residence in a therapeutic community or halfway house, vocational and survival skills training. There is an expectation of social reintegration into the wider community.
  • The approaches used often depend on the model used.

Medications for drug addiction

  • Buprenorphine
  • Methadone
  • Naltrexone
  • Antabuse/ disulfiram
  • Nicotine Replacement
  • Patches
  • Gum



  • A broad range of community-based service supports designed to maintain benefits when structured treatment has been completed.
  • It may involve a continuation of individual or group counseling and other supports, but usually at a lower intensity and often by other agencies.
  • Self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are  important providers of aftercare services