Repeated use of the substance in ways that would be
considered physically harmful
Substance abuse is defined as the excessive use of a substance, which can be
alcohol, or drugs. Substance abuse is a patterned use of a drug in which the user
consumes the substance in amounts by means of methods which are used to
consume the substance,
which can be through sniffing, drinking, smoking or inhaling the substance there are
different methods which can be used to consume the substance.
These methods can be harmful to the individual and others around the person
consuming the substance.
Drug abuse in South Africa is fast becoming a big problem. According to the South
African Depression and Anxiety Group, illegal drug consumption in South Africa is
double the world norm.
This has led to an increase in crime rates especially among poor unemployed South
Africans. Figures published by the South African Police Service show that drug abuse
accounts for 60% of all crimes.
To make matters worse, the Central Drug Authority’s (CDA) Dr. David Bayever
reckons that up to 15% of South Africans adolescents abuse drugs.
A study carried out by researchers from the Free State University, University of Natal,
University of the North, and Institute for Special Populations Research found that
South Africa has the uncertain distinction of having the largest illegal drug market in
Factors that have contributed to rising levels of drug abuse include widespread and
severe poverty levels, rapid transformation and decline of traditional and social
relationships, as well as porous borders.
Expanding trade links with other parts of the world such as Asia, Europe, and the
Americas have also made South Africa attractive to drug traffickers.
A nationwide survey carried out by Shisana et al. found that 2.3% of the urban population use cannabis.
In rural areas, the rate stands at one %. In addition, figures from the Youth Risk and Behavior Survey
(YRBS) show that nine percent of school-age children use cannabis.
South Africans addicted to cannabis account for 19.9 % of all patients undergoing treatment at drug
Cocaine is another widely used drug with substance abuse rate in South Africa figures from the CDA
showing that its use increased by 20 % between 2006 and 2008.
As a result, the number of people seeking treatment for cocaine addiction increased from 1.5 % in 1996 to
17.5 % in 2008. Other widely used drugs are heroin,
According to the Central Drug Authority, the substance abuse rate in South Africa among teenagers is
spiraling out of control. In fact, one in two school children have already experimented with drugs. In most
cases, children start experimenting in drugs at age twelve, according to the CDA. A study published in the
Lancet Medical Journal found that more than 60 % of teenagers aged 18 years regularly drink alcohol.
This is worrying considering 30% of teenagers drink alcohol when they should be in school. The problem
with drinking alcohol during one’s teenage years is it increases the likelihood of developing alcohol
dependency later in life. Cannabis abuse among teenagers ranges anywhere from two to nine %.
There is no doubt substance abuse rate in South Africa is rising every year. Some of the widely available
and abused drugs include heroin, marijuana, methamphetamines, and cocaine. Another increasingly
popular drug is “Nyaope” — a mixture of marijuana and heroin.
Alcohol abuse is defined as the pattern of drinking that results in one or more of the
following situations within a twelve months period:
Failure to fulfill major work, school, or home responsibilities.
Drinking in situations that are physically dangerous, such as while driving a car or
Having recurring alcohol related legal problems, such as being arrested for driving
under the influence of alcohol or for physically hurting someone while drunk
Continued drinking despite having ongoing relationship problems that are caused or
worsened by the drinking.
Repeatedly neglecting your responsibilities at home, work or school because of your
Using alcohol in situations where its physically dangerous
Experiencing repeated legal problems on account of your drinking
Continuing to drink even though your alcohol use is causing problems in your
Drinking as a way to distress or to relax.
Alcoholism and alcohol abuse can affect all aspects of your life, long term alcohol can
cause serious health complications, affecting virtually every organ in your body,
including your brain.
Drinking can also damage your emotional stability, finances, career, and your ability to
build and sustain satisfying relationships.
Alcohol and alcoholism can also have an impact on your family, friends and the people
you work or school with.
Influence on a peer group, observers
or individual exerts that encourages
others to change their attitudes,
values, or behaviours to conform to
In many occasions individuals get
overwhelmed by their daily activities
of which ultimately leads to them a
resorting to an overdose of harmful
substances to get rid of the stress
In most cases individuals are faced
with the pain of dealing with losing a
loved one. Drugs and alcohol are
usually the easy way out from the sad
reality for the those dealing with the
During adolescent most teenagers
rebel against their parents which
results to them abusing substances to
prove a point or to show their parents
that they know better and spite them
in the process.
As a way getting away from the stress
caused by relationship problems
individuals tend to abuse substances
to forget about the stress
Being unemployed leads to individuals
resorting to substance abuse as a
way of getting from reality.
The primary, secondary and the tertiary stages of prevention.
It focuses on preventing the problem from occurring.
Collaborative plans should be made with parents, school boards, treatment agencies,
and concerned groups within the community to ensure successful programs
Parties involved when planning on the prevention
Positive parent relationships between parents and their children
parents must pay attention and be involved in everything that their children do
Supportive parenting that meets financial, emotional, cognitive, and social needs is
clear limits and consistent enforcement of discipline
Adult supervision of activities outside the home
knowing the child’s friends,
Enforcing household rules.
Strong bonds with prosocial institutions, such as school and religious institutions.
Teach learners about the harmful effects abusing substances.
They must know all the facts about the abuse will show them pictures of people whose
lives were ruined by the use of alcohol.
Learners must participate in extracurricular activities at school e.g. sport,
Include teaching students how to resist peer influences, improving generic life skills,
involving families, and providing opportunities to become involved in positive
experiences with others in the school and community.
Skills like self-control, which tends to inhibit problem behavior and often increases
naturally as children mature during adolescence.
Community level with civic, religious, law enforcement and other government
organizations to enhance anti-drug norms and pro-social behaviours.
The community norms must be ones that are not supportive of substance abuse
therefore substance abuse should not be entertained.
Community-based strategies that reduce risk factors such as the availability of drugs
and alcohol and promote norms that discourage underage drinking and drug use.
Consultation to address immediate or ongoing concerns
related to existing severe difficulties that students may be
For example when the child is already addicted to alcohol or
drugs to the extent that the child cannot cope without it.
It is also important to define the cause that could have led the
child to be addicted such as stress, trauma, being bullied.
Alcohol may cause students to be suicidal and other issues
such as stress, anger etc
The addicted child resulting to crime, stealing in order to
sustain the drug habit. This leads to being excluded in the
The child might be suspended from school and academics
might suffer as the child will not have time for their
Family systems suffer as parents loose hope in their children
and as that might
Transition back to society
Transition back to school
Transition back into a family system
“the devil finds work for idle hands”
Extra-curricular activities such as soccer, netball, any
activity that learners can do to keep busy
Community programmes such as dramas and
recreational activities in community halls.
The African proverb says “IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A
Community patrol programmes
Working together with the police