Campaign puts spotlight on substance abuse

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

The Department of Social Development is set to conduct an anti-alcohol and substance abuse campaign in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape provinces.

The campaign in Mpumalanga will be held at the Middleburg Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In the Northern Cape, the campaign will be held at the Sol Platjie University on Wednesday and Thursday.

The campaign, which will run under the theme, 'Protecting students against crime, substance abuse and gender-based violence', seeks to raise awareness among students, who can sometimes diverge from their studies as a result of access to alcohol and drugs.

The department said this also serves as an opportunity for the department to educate, create awareness and disseminate anti-alcohol and substance abuse, as well as gender-based violence information, to students in institutions of higher learning.

According to the 2019 – 2024 National Drug Master Plan (NDMP), 58% of deaths on South African roads can be attributed to alcohol consumption.

It also reveals that nyaope / woonga (heroin and cannabis mix) and methamphetamine (tik) usage is gaining popularity among adolescents, with far-reaching effects on users, families and communities.

“Waging war against substance abuse is not government’s role alone and it is for this reason that the department works in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders, including community structures, as well as Institutions of higher learning.

“The abuse of alcohol and drugs is one of the contributing factors to the high prevalence of GBVF, which has been declared as the second pandemic in the country. Similar to GBVF, substance abuse has a negative impact on the lives and well-being of many South Africans, especially, vulnerable women, children and persons with disabilities, who are continuously victims of domestic violence and abuse,” the department said.

As part of building a caring society for all South Africans, the Department of Social Development is the custodian of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act, No 70 of 2008, which mandates the department to develop programmes and support initiatives aimed at the prevention and treatment of substance abuse.

The Act exists to prevent usage, treatment of substance use disorders, as well as the reduction, production, and distribution of illicit drugs in South Africa. –