The national health insurer will pay medical bills for alcohol and drug abuse addicts if MPs approve changes to the law aimed at curbing consumption among the youth.The Health (Amendment) Bill seeks to incorporate alcohol and drug addiction to be recognised as a disease.
About 20 MPs who are members of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse caucus said the Bill will provide a health treatment framework for substance abuse.“Addiction to alcohol and drug abuse is not recognised as a disease. Addicts are unable to use their National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) cards because it does not cover drug and substance addiction,” Gathoni Wamuchomba, the MP for Githunguri said.
“As a caucus against Drug, Substance and Alcohol Abuse, we have drafted two Bills. One seeks to amend the Health Act to categorise action as a disease. This will see addicts treated at affordable cost by the State.”
The Health Act, of 2017 defines a “disease” as any physical or mental condition that causes pain, dysfunction, distress, social problems or death to the person afflicted or similar problems for those in contact with the person.
The MPs said the proposed Bill has been necessitated by the rising cases of alcohol and substance abuse that has not spared school-going children.The caucus, which held a meeting at Parliament decried the influx of drugs and alcohol abuse across the country.
The MPs said they are alarmed by the prevalent attendant effects of drug and alcohol abuse that has given a sharp rise to crimes such as sexual assault, domestic violence, mental health challenges, suicides, and school dropouts, among many other challenges that young people face across the country.