The United Nations General Assembly in 1987 decided to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) selects themes for the International Day and launches campaigns to raise awareness about the global drug problem. Health is the ongoing theme of the world drug campaign.
The South African government and its partners are implementing the National Drug Master Plan, 2013-2017, which is a collective effort towards a South Africa that is free of drug abuse. The drug master plan is a single document covering all national concerns regarding drug control; summarising national policies authoritatively, and defining priorities and allocating responsibility for drug control efforts (United Nations Drug Control Programme). The National Drug Master Plan prioritises strategies on demand reduction, supply reduction and harm reduction.
The Master Plan serves as the country’s blueprint for preventing and reducing alcohol and substance abuse and its associated social and economic consequences on South African society, and builds on the foundation laid down by government's Programme of Action on alcohol and substance abuse.
Key points of 5 year plan
The key outcomes of the five year National Drug Master Plan are:
- reduction of the bio-socio-economic impact of substance abuse and related illnesses on the South African population
- Ability of all people in South Africa to deal with problems related to substance abuse within communities
- Recreational facilities and diversion programmes that prevent vulnerable populations from becoming substance dependants
- Reduced availability of substance dependence-forming drugs and alcoholic beverages
- Development and implementation of multi-disciplinary and multi-modal protocols and practices for integrated diagnosis and treatment of substance dependence and co-occurring disorders and for funding such diagnosis and treatment.
- Harmonisation and enforcement of laws and policies to facilitate effective governance of the alcohol and drug supply chain.
Multifaceted approach needed
The Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency Act (Act 20 of 1992) and the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act (Act 70 of 2008), provides for the establishment of programmes for the prevention and treatment of drug dependency.
The Central Drug Authority was established as an advisory body in terms of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act (Act No. 70 of 2008) and is mandated to assist in the fight against substance abuse in the country.
Alcohol abuse is a complex socio-economic issue that requires a multi-stakeholder and integrated approach towards a drug free society, captured in the National Drug Master Plan. Creating awareness of dangers of the substance abuse in society and effecting behavioural change are integral parts of the National Drug Master Plan.
What you can do
Government calls on all South Africans to join hands in the implementation of the national programme of action against substance and alcohol abuse.
- Community support is extremely important to prevent, treat, rehabilitate and accept those addicted to substances. Help break the stigma and promote faster recovery.
- Be a good role model and empower young people to deal with life challenges to buffer substance abuse.
- Be a messenger - provide factual information on the negative socio-economic effects of substance abuse to bring about behavioural changes.
- The carnage on South Africa’s roads can be reduced drastically if adults drink responsibly.
- Don’t drink and drive - Arrive Alive!
- Celebrate year end festivities soberly and responsibly: Don’t turn a night out into a nightmare.
- Say NO to drugs.
- Partner with government volunteer and support rehabilitation programmes to increase access to information for affected individuals and communities.
Facts on abuse
- There is a burden of “secondary risks”, including injury, premature non-natural deaths, foetal alcohol syndrome (FASD).
- Research indicates that social costs of alcohol related trauma and accidents far exceed those of other countries and that intoxication was a major factor in road accidents. According to the South African Revenue Service the known direct cost of drug abuse in 2005 was roughly R101 000 million.
- The social cost of illicit drug use was calculated using international data and is approximately R136 380 million annually.
- The relationship between alcohol and illegal drugs, crime, and violence is both direct and complex. In 2007, more than 47% of victims of homicide tested positively for alcohol at the time of death. Alcohol makes people vulnerable to crime.
- 8.4 per cent (2.2 million) of the South African population used cannabis in 2004 as against the global norm of 4 per cent; 8.9 per cent (2.5 million) used cannabis in 2005/6 and 3.2 million used in 2008, an increase of nearly 20 per cent.