SA drug abuse trends paint a grim picture.

 

 

South African drug use statistics paint a grim picture according to Akeso Clinic as they raise awareness in light of the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (Sanca’s) Drug Addiction Awareness Week, which took place from 24 to 28 June.

The clinic considers the necessary intervention should be implemented now, more than ever before!

“Drug use among the country’s youth is rife and unfortunately continues to escalate. The average age of experimentation in South Africa is 12, and decreasing. While the age of patients undergoing treatment in Gauteng ranged from nine to 82, the proportion of patients aged between 10 to 19 increased to 29 per cent, according to the South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (Sacendu), report – March 2017,” Shelley Andersen, accredited addictions counsellor at Akeso Clinic Umhlanga, pointed out.

Already in 2010, a study by Reddy reported that a percentage of all South African schoolchildren had used at least one illegal drug, such as heroin, mandrax and cocaine. This figure is one of the highest in the African region. She added that studies show that people who start drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to become alcoholics.

“Youth issues largely prevalent include bullying, peer pressure, stress, depression, anxiety, anger, self-harming, low self-worth and suicide attempts. Many learners report that they have been either offered, sold or given illicit drugs at schools.”

Bronwyn Meyers, the chief specialist scientist in the alcohol and drug abuse unit of the South African Medical Research Council (MRC), states that 11 per cent (5.7million people) of the South African population will suffer from an addiction disorder in their lifetime.

Recent reports from Sacendu, suggest that among the youth, cannabis, alcohol and tobacco were the most commonly abused substances.

The SA National Youth Risk Behaviour Survey (YRBS) found that 15 per cent of pupils admitted to using over-the-counter drugs to get high.

“Drug use can cause serious health problems and may also have serious mental health consequences. If anyone should need us to come to their schools they can contact us for assistance. We also have a community social worker who can visit various areas to offer assistance and assist in setting up programmes,” Andersen advised.

Akeso Clinics is a group of private in-patient psychiatric clinics that prides itself on providing individual, integrated and family-oriented treatment for a range of psychiatric, psychological and addictive conditions.

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  AUTHOR
Phathu Luvhengo
Journalist

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