Drug abuse needs to be confronted

2012-05-17 11:24

Statistics show that drug and alcohol abuse by young South Africans is increasing rapidly and is seemingly out of control.

Unfortunately, children are exposed to tobacco, drugs and alcohol - at a much younger age than past generations and it is becoming extremely difficult for parents, teachers and guardians to control them. Several factors like too much money and free time, weak parental control, and the availability of drugs, are influencing this situation.

Any parent who has a child in primary or high school and university and wants the assurance that his or her child/ children are not involved with intoxicants of any kind or want to stay on top of this potential problem need to take strong preventative measures. Parents should not shield their children’s actions by playing the blame card.

It is important to realize the dangers that our children face. It is also important to admit the possibility of our own children becoming victims of these evils. As a community we need to realise that we have no “immunity” from drugs and alcohol abuse. Substance abuse is shattering and destroying the lives of many young people at an increasing level and it is imperative to stand up to the problem by realizing the widespread practice of such evil habits within and outside of our communities.

Our watchfulness and concern is needed now more than ever before. Over a period of time, drugs deprive children, men and women of their families, dignity, respect, feelings, character, dreams, ambitions and eventually their lives. When we campaign against drugs and alcohol abuse, we fight for preserving humanity.

The government, schools, parents and community leaders from across the country must share in the responsibility to protect our children and all the citizens from the scourge of illegal drugs.

I believe that in an attempt to save lives and for the greater good, a starting point would be spot inspections to test pupils for the use of drugs. It is important to remember that testing them does not mean not trusting them. It is simply an acknowledgement of the existence of the problem. It is also recognition of the fact that your child could be on drugs. Identifying the problem is the first step in the process of addressing the problem and working towards resolving it.

Testing them does not mean not trusting them. It is simply recognition of the fact that your child could be on drugs. Identifying the problem is the first step in the process of addressing and working towards resolving it.

Every home, citizen and learning institution should accept responsibility to continually educate learners and children that drugs are unlawful, harmful and fatal. We have to renew our commitment to the various drug prevention programmes that will hopefully prevent first-time drug use and stop the progression from experimenting to serious use.

For our children’s sake, our country’s sake and for the sake of humanity, this scourge and curse must be confronted through a dedicated, consistent, cooperative and long term policy.

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