The issue of substance abuse is slowly escalating to schools in Factreton, Kensington and Maitland communities and interventions are needed.
The concerns have been raised by the ward 56 councillor Helen Jacobs, a resident Quinton Langeveldt and a deputy principal of Maitland High School, Leon Kapp.
They say the communities have been known for having lots of issues, but it is more problematic to see it affecting the school.
According to Jacobs, there was an incident that took place recently where a nine-year-old boy was found with drugs, and it was discovered that he had used them.
She says authorities on their own will not be able to solve this through the interventions that have been established, but rather need buy-in from the parents as well.
Jacobs says currently organisations have come on board and offer programmes at schools and in the greater communities. She also says they work closely with police to address the issue.
Langeveldt says it is sad that government is not doing much to solve the problem before it escalates.
He believes that gang violence and substance abuse go hand in hand and if the gang members could be removed from the communities, the situation could be controlled, and children could be saved.
Kapp says the school has been dealing with the issue for the past six months and boys are mostly affected.
He says the school is trying to tighten security and searching learners’ schoolbags when there are suspicions, but learners always find ways to sneak “the stuff” into the school premises.
He says this has a negative impact as some learners who are using drugs tend to arrive late for school and sometimes leave during school breaks to get a fix, returning to classes “on another level” and disrupt the teaching and learning.
Recently, Kensington police joined hands with the department of social development to host a talk about substance abuse at Kenmere Primary School. The station’s spokesperson, Sergeant Angeline Grill says children responded well. She hopes with more programmes children will be aware of the danger of substance abuse.