09 December 2018


Provincial Substance Abuse Forum to help stop drug abuse  

by: Obakeng Maje      date: 06 july 2018

North West MEC of Social Development department, Hoffman Galeng, says the department has set aside R74.9 million in the current financial year to turn around the lives of young people by waging a winnable war against drug addiction.
Galeng addressed the youth gathered at Huhudi stadium in Vryburg on Tuesday during the commemoration of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
“This day is being commemorated every year on the 26th of June by the United Nations to highlight the dangers of drug usage and its illegal trade across the globe. The theme for this year is: “Listen First - Listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and safe.”  
“Drug and substance abuse is a mammoth challenge that we are faced with as the society. However, we vow that we will never give up until we win this fight. Drugs have a negative effect on the socio-economic well-being of individuals, families and the youth,” he said.
Galeng added that the situation is heartrending and urged all stakeholders to work together in eradicating drug and substance abuse. He said the plague continues to deprive South Africa of great leaders and visionaries.
“It is a known fact that young people use nyaope, which is found easily in our townships and villages. We cannot allow our beloved province and the country at large to become a paradise of drugs and a doorway for trafficking.
“The department has developed the National Drug Master Plan (NDMP) Vision 2022 to deal with drug abuse and illicit trafficking. We have also launched the Provincial Substance Abuse Forum (PSAF).
Chairperson of the Provincial Substance Abuse Forum (PSAF), Rev Thomas Makhubo, said this initiative will assist the province to fight drugs at household level and in schools. 
“Drug and substance abuse is a cause for serious concern across the province. Young people are at risk of contracting diseases from each other through the use of needles to exchange blood through a process called “Bluetooth.” Drugs have taken over their lives and the elderly alike,” he said.
Makhubo added that the forum consists of different stakeholders such as law enforcement agencies and health practitioners. He said the department has constructed two state-run in-patient treatment centres in JB Marks Local Municipality and Greater Taung Local Municipality.
“These projects are 100% practical completion. The department is currently in the process of operationalizing these facilities so that our people can lead a drug-free life,” he said.
Former addict, Ofentse Monnapula (40), from Mahikeng had this to say: “Those who indulge in drugs tend to lose control of themselves. So, we believe that this initiative will assist to curb the use of drugs by involving drug users.
“We can work together to ensure there is a remarkable stride towards rehabilitating those that are addicted to drugs. I know the circumstances of using drugs. I urge young people to refrain from using drugs before is too late.”  
According to a report released by South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (SACENODU) in March 2017, the average age of experimentation in South Africa is 12 years, while the age of patients undergoing treatment ranges from 9 to 82 years.
Another survey conducted by South African National Youth Risk Behaviour Survey (YRBS) found that 15% of pupils admitted to using over-the-counter drugs to get high. He said the same study found that 11.5% of pupils had tried atleast one drug, such as heroin, Mandrax, sugars or Tik.