Exposing children to drug and alcohol abuse is a serious child safeguarding issue. It is listed as such in our SOS Children’s Villages Child Protection Policy. Article 33 of the United Nation Child Rights Committee agrees and also describes drug abuse as a Child Safeguarding issue that puts children at risk of developing a drug habit.
Children who are exposed to drug and alcohol abuse in their homes or in their communities end up suffering serious psycho-social problems. Drug dependency, in all its forms, is a problem that creates serious health, social, legal, and economic problems. It also affects the parent's ability to provide constant, nurturing care to their children. Substance abuse causes other social ills such as violence and neglect that affects many children.
According to the Board of Addiction Professionals South Africa, the rate of alcohol use among South Africans is at nearly 40% and this includes pregnant mothers. It is said that South Africa also has the highest incidence of foetal alcohol syndrome in the world, which affects foetus normal cognitive and emotional functioning.
Education is needed to make young people aware of drug abuse.
Some of the children in SOS Children’s Villages, children who have lost or are at risk of losing parental care; come from backgrounds where they were exposed to drugs. After such exposure to drugs, they become susceptible to drug usage.
“SOS Children’s Villages would like to partner with other organisations in dealing with the complex issues of drug abuse. The active involvement of civil society is essential in helping the government carry out its mandate to protect its citizens.” says Mosa Moremi who is the Child’s Right Advocate at SOS Children’s Villages.