The Department of Social Development has dedicated its efforts to raise awareness and education about the dangers of drugs
The department of social development plans to step up its campaign against substance abuse, identified among some of the biggest challenges facing students in South Africa.
The Anti-Substance Abuse campaign, launched last December, aims to sensitise young people in particular about the harmful effects of alcohol and drug abuse and encourage stakeholders to help grapple with the scourge.
In 2016, the department conducted dialogue in Eastern Cape-based tertiary institutions to address challenges faced by students particularly females, those with disabilities, those exiting the social security grant system as well as students who form part of the LGBTI community.
Among some of the findings from the conversations was the high rate of substance abuse in the institutions. Students at the Walter Sisulu University of Technology, for example, spoke about the easy access to alcohol and related substances from a local tavern.
Statistics from the South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use show that 10,047 people were admitted to anti-substance abuse treatment centres in 2017.
“As a response to the plea of the students and as part of the Anti-Substance Abuse Campaign … the Department of Social Development has undertaken to dedicate more efforts towards the implementation of anti-substance abuse prevention through awareness campaigns and education as the first levels of intervention,” the department said in a statement.
It said students had cited the lack of extra-curricular activities as a key contributor to substance abuse, which reportedly accounts for close to 60 percent of crimes committed in South Africa and 80 percent of male youth deaths.
The department is hosting exhibitions in tertiary institutions throughout the country, where it disburses information about how substance abuse contributes to gender-based violence and HIV infections.
Source The Citizen