Zuma warns against substance abuse

2013-06-17 00:00

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma yesterday warned the youth against alcohol and substance abuse, saying it was a threat to the gains of freedom.

Addressing community members at a youth day rally in Newcastle in northern KZN yesterday, Zuma said unlike the youth of 1976 who were made to be pariahs in their motherland, the current generation was empowered by the Constitution and the laws of the land to participate fully in building a better life.

This, he said, was being undermined by the widespread use of alcohol and illegal drugs.

“A salient point in this struggle for a better life is the fight against drugs and substance abuse; the fight against crime and gangsterism; the fight against child and women abuse; the fight against teenage pregnancy and truancy as well as the fight against mob justice and xenophobia.

“Our special message to the youth of the republic today is that you must become an integral part of the struggle against all these cancers that are painfully eating our society. Alcohol and drug abuse in particular, are slowly eating into the social fibre of our communities.”

Zuma recently visited the Eldorado Park area where mothers and community members told him horrific stories of how alcohol and substance abuse had taken over their children’s lives.

He said the youth have become slaves of drugs such as nyaope, whoonga, tik and kuber, among others. Others are slaves to alcohol abuse.

According to the second South African National Youth Risk Behaviour Survey of 2008, the Western Cape, Gauteng, Free State and North West reported the highest alcohol consumption rates by the youth. And in Limpopo and the Western Cape, the survey found more female pupils than male had used alcohol.

Zuma said drug and substance abuse have serious implications for millions of citizens because they contribute to crime, gangsterism, domestic violence, and family dysfunction. Many parents are in pain, as they watch their children’s lives being destroyed by drugs.

In Zulu, he said, “We should not let drug dealers destroy the future of our children and the future of our country. We must today declare drug and alcohol abuse as the enemies of our freedom and democracy.

“We must declare drug traffickers and those who run illegal alcohol outlets that sell alcohol to our children the enemies of our freedom. They should be ashamed of running businesses that destroy children, the youth and many families”.

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