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Drug, substance abuse a major problem for Tshwane

A drug addict smokes methamphetamine or so-called Tik. Drug abuse continues to be a common problem in many households in Tshwane. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA)

A drug addict smokes methamphetamine or so-called Tik. Drug abuse continues to be a common problem in many households in Tshwane. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 27, 2022

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Pretoria - Research has found that drug abuse continues to be a common problem in many households in Tshwane, said MMC for Health Rina Marx.

Marx made the remarks yesterday as the City observed the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking by creating awareness of drugs and alcohol abuse and prioritising active co-operation to create drug-free societies throughout the world.

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She said to observe the important day, the City lined up various programmes that highlighted the plight of those experiencing substance abuse and offered assistance where needed.

Marx said: “A recent study by the South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use found that drug and alcohol abuse in Tshwane was widespread, and that especially cannabis and alcohol were used on a regular basis.

About 19% of households that took part in the study indicated that at least one person residing in the household had a substance use problem.

“The negative impact of drug and alcohol abuse in communities is well documented.

“It has social and economic implications, and leads to the serious disruption of family and community harmony.

“Violence, joblessness, women and child abuse, traffic accidents, gangsterism and the general breakdown of the social fibre in communities can often be directly linked to alcohol and drug abuse.”

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According to the National Drug Master Plan (2019-2024), the world drug problem and related responses continued to present challenges to the health, safety and well-being of people in South Africa.

“The country has become a consumer, producer and transit country for drugs. Socio-economic factors such as poverty, inequality and unemployment remain key contributing elements to the increased use of drugs and the development of substance use disorders.

“Alcohol is the most widely used psychoactive substance and cannabis is by far the most-used illicit

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drug on the streets. Most of the deaths in South Africa, as much as 58%, can be attributed to alcohol consumption.”

Pretoria City has the Drug and Substance Abuse Response Unit of the City of Tshwane Health Department, that will again reach out to qualifying non-profit organisations, and R2 million has been set aside for this purpose in the new financial year.

This includes the main vehicle used by the City to address the drug problem in Tshwane, known as the Community Oriented Substance Abuse Programme, which is a partnership with the Department of Family Medicine of the University of Pretoria, with a budget of R31.779m.

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It uses a multidimensional strategy to provide support to drug users, their families and affected communities and it involves medical interventions, counselling, social services, HIV and TB screening, needle exchange programme, opioid substitution therapy, post-rehabilitation support services and skills development.

The City further avails qualified social workers to counsel victims of drug and alcohol abuse.

“The scourge of drug and alcohol abuse cannot be addressed by the government alone.

“It manifests itself within the economic, social, religious, family and community environment, and it is therefore important that stakeholders that operate in these spaces also become involved.

“I want to encourage all stakeholders in Tshwane to take hands with the City to fight these addictions that tear our families and communities apart.

“Individuals and organisations that want to get involved are welcome to contact the City of Tshwane Health Department for advice and guidance.”

Pretoria News

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