Zuma wants action on substance abuse
Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma has called for "concerted action" to deal with the abuse of alcohol and drugs in Mitchells Plain.
Zuma said in a speech at the Sultan Bahu Treatment Centre in Mitchells Plain on Tuesday that he was concerned that the abuse of alcohol and drugs was becoming a fashionable part of the lives of "some" children.
"Statistics indicate that the age of experimentation with drugs is nine years, which is way too disturbing," Zuma said in the speech which was attended by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille.
"We have seen in some communities that some children drink alcohol on their way to school.
"This calls for concerted action amongst all of us as parents and community members. We must work together to curb the spread of substance abuse in our communities."
Zuma said the government had a duty to build recreational facilities and improve the quality of life for communities, so that poverty did not breed the "proliferation of drugs and the abuse of other substances".
"We are pleased to note action being taken by communities and individuals to fight substance abuse and educate our children and families.
Zuma said he was concerned about the high numbers of pregnant women who were abusing alcohol on farms in the Western Cape and parts of the Northern Cape.
"The impact on the unborn child is devastating," he said.
Zuma said most in-patient treatment centres were not accessible to majority of patients and were found mostly in the cities.
"We therefore must find a way of extending them to rural and informal settlements, especially in the light of rising demand for treatment services," he said.
"However, the out-patient treatment services are also available, and have ensured that patients receive treatment while remaining in their communities and families."