Government is ‘weak’ on drugs

2015-06-02 06:00
Plusmstead resident attended an informative drug talk last week. Where the issue of drug abuse in their community were discussed. 

chevon booysen

Plusmstead resident attended an informative drug talk last week. Where the issue of drug abuse in their community were discussed. PHOTO: chevon booysen

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The realities of drug use and the specifics of how various drugs are used and the effects on drug users were highlighted at a meeting in Plumstead last week.

St Mark’s Church hosted the first in a series of workshops called “Hot topics”.

Warrant officer Keith Chandler, spokesperson of the Diep River police, presented the informative talk on drugs.

Pastor Nick Louw of St Mark’s tells that there was also a discussion period in the workshop. At this stage the conversation moved to government’s policy on drug abuse, legislation and the effectiveness of law enforcement.

“There was a strong opinion from many that our government isn’t doing enough, the punishment for drug offences is not a deterrent, and that the police lack sufficient resources to fight the drug scourge,” he said.

However, Louw believes that, in complaining about the high-level factors, “we are in fact forgetting one of the most vital factors right at home – the family structures in which the drug abuser is raised”.

No father figure“It is my firm opinion that the emotional and spiritual health of individual family units in our country has a direct influence on drug use, crime and society at large. During my own time spent ministering in Pollsmoor prison, almost all of the inmates I dealt with had no father figure growing up.”

He said he saw a direct correlation between the functioning of the family unit in which a person grows up and a person’s risk of getting involved in anti-social behaviour.

“The same principle applies to drug abuse – an article not long ago in a UK paper referred to studies that found that fatherless young people are 80.3% more likely to be involved in anti-social behaviour, and 69.1% more likely to be drug users,” he said.

Both parents needed“Let’s not forget the vital role that mothers play, but the family unit has been designed to function best with both a mother and a father working in partnership,” Louw said.

He adds that the family unit was created to be “the incubator for healthy personal development”.

“When we mess with its created design it has all kinds of effects on society,” he said.

Louw said that in relation to the drug scourge, “prevention is better than cure” and the best prevention is in families functioning the way they were designed to.

Local churches well placed“That’s why we at St Mark’s are passionate about families, and seeing families flourish. We believe this is foundational to alleviating many of our society’s issues.

“This is the reason we’re running the ‘Hot topics’ series, looking at key issues that families face today,” he said.

Louw adds that he believes local churches are critically placed to provide input to families.

“I hope this will be the start of further discussions in how we can help South African families to flourish.”

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