Richard Gakunju

Director of ISSUP

Dr. Richard Gakunju is a public health specialist (MPH, Kenyatta University) and a NAADAC & KENYA certified Addictions Professional (NCAC 1, KCAC 111) with over 12 years experience in addictions management and treatment. He holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Pharmacy from the Pyatigorsk Institute of Pharmacy.

He has trained and worked as a senior consultant with a range of organisations including the National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA), UNODC, UNDP, the Programme for Appropriate Technology and Health (PATH), the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE), the Movement against Substance Abuse in Africa (MASAA) and the Ministry of Youth Affairs among many other governmental and non-governmental institutions and organisations.

He has made immense contributions in the development of National standards in addiction treatment, the development of National treatment protocols for persons with Substance Use Disorders (SUDs), the development of National workplace policy, the development of Certification criteria for addiction professionals and the development of generic SUDs training materials and tools.

He has played a key role in the setting up of a national SUDs helpline and given valuable input in the drafting and enactment of the Tobacco Control Act 2007, the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act 2010, and the reintroduction of the Alco blow/breathalyzer among many other national initiatives.

He has trained with the US-based ‘Day-top International’ in the ‘Therapeutic Community’ model of addiction treatment and developed tailor-made national treatment programmes and training modules with NAADAC. He has trained in Prevention Science under the Colombo Plan and has been deployed as a Global Master Trainer in both the Universal Treatment and the Prevention Curricula and trained Addiction Professionals in Asia, Africa and the Western Hemisphere.

He works in collaboration with national, regional and international institutions and organisations involved in prevention management, treatment and rehabilitation of persons with Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) and has worked with multiple stakeholders within different cultural settings. Currently he serves as the Chairperson of the Kenya Certification Council for Addiction Professionals (NACADA) and as patron of the Kenya Association of addiction counselors.

He serves as the Clinical Director of MASAA Home, a major drug rehabilitation facility in Kenya. He is a member of the Pharmacological Society for East Africa and the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya. He has served as a Commissioner at the International Centre for Education and Credentialing (ICCE) since 2015 and now also serves on the board of directors of ISSUP.