Collective Approach Critical to Uproot Drug Abuse
Challenges experienced with drug abuse cannot solely be a responsibility of the Department of Social Development, but should involve every government department, civil body and society at large, says Chairperson of Portfolio Committee on Women, Children, Youth and People with Disabilities, Ms Dorothy Ramodibe.
This, as the Central Drug Authority briefed the committee about National Statistics and recent research on substance abuse in South Africa.
According to Dr Ray Eberlein, member of the CDA, “the study in the country’s nine provinces focused on an average of 300 persons per community and revealed that while 56% of the respondents had no knowledge of what substance abuse was, and only 40% had knowledge of support services for drug users, 65% knew of someone using drugs at their homes.”
The report said the community attributed the abuse to their availability. “Drugs are now easily accessible just about anywhere, in schools, taverns and so on,” said Dr Eberlein. The increased abuse could be linked to poverty, family history and unemployment. Better parenting, more recreational facilities and shutting down taverns was proposed as solutions.
Dr Eberlein also said “unlike men, women are not forced to drugs by peer pressure, but by loneliness and rejection. Women taking drugs because of rape account for 46%, and 44% due to incest. Drug usage in children occurs from 12 years old and even younger, with half having experimented already. Drug dealers are targeting schools, disguising drugs in peanuts, sweets, lollipops and cakes even in tattoos.” The report revealed that alcohol, dagga and tobacco were the most frequently used drugs. Committee members raised concerns about the country’s deteriorating moral fibre and called on the entire South African community to play its role. “Business, government and civil society must merge to combat this scourge” Ms Ramodibe said.
by Temba Gubula