Substance abuse in South Africa
One of the most interesting facts about the abuse of substances in South Africa, is that the prevalence of drug users is almost as high as that of alcohol addicts. Sadly, another fact exists, namely the one that shows that amongst demographic groups, one of the highest ratios of substance abuse lies in the twelve to nineteen range. Teenage drug abuse is a terrible problem in South Africa and one has to ask oneself what is being done to combat it.
One of the biggest problems in this country is that alcohol abuse resources are so few for those within impoverished social situations. South Africa has a high number of townships and informal settlements that are filled with addiction, crime and poverty. It is these in which the use of drugs and alcohol is becoming more and more commonplace and so, the help for drug abuse is not easy to find.
Though these are state run drug abuse centres throughout the country, it is difficult to get a place in them because they are overcrowded, too few and lacking in staff and other resources. As for alcohol problems, many do not consider the abuse of alcohol to be a problem at all, and go on with their lives thinking that drunken bouts of rage, memory loss and the poor living conditions that the abuse of substances lead to are all normal.
What we really need in South Africa is a stronger programme for alcohol and drug abuse help. In layman’s terms, we need the government to stand up and make public the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, and make assistance in those areas readily available and well-funded, so that clinics will no longer lack resources, and people can avoid the problems that arise due to their addictions.
Of course, these changes in government will only come to pass if the people of our nation stand up and make it clear to the government that we need these treatment facilities. With so many other worthy causes currently on the books, including the war against HIV/Aids, will we ever see this come to pass?