Alcohol the most abused drug in Gauteng
26 Jun 2009
The Gauteng Health and Social Development MEC Qedani Mahlangu has called on the community to unite in the fight against the increase of alcohol and drug abuse in the province.
Addressing hundreds of peoples, who had gathered to commemorate the International day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, at Sam Ntuli Stadium in Thokoza, Mahlangu says her department recognise the escalating rate of substance abuse in communities.
She says s substance abuse is one of the greatest health and social problems in the country, and this has wide-ranging consequences, which include physical debilitation, chronic impairment, injuries, marital and family problems, child abuse, violence in families and communities, trauma, depression, crime, traffic accidents, work stress, social misery and economic costs.
"Alcohol remains the most notorious abused drug and alcoholic beverages are growing in popularity amongst the youth, especially in informal settlements and townships. The abuse of over-the-counter medication and prescription drugs is on the increase. Regarding other drugs, the market is dominated by dagga, mandrax, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and LSD. The simultaneous use of dagga and mandrax and dagga and heroine (Nyaope) is widespread in Gauteng", Mahlangu added.
She says the increase in liquor outlets (shebeens in particular) and drug smuggling is of a concern. According to the South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (SACENDU) statistics, alcohol is a dominant substance of abuse in Gauteng with half the patients admitted to treatment centres reporting alcohol as their primary drug of abuse. Between the period January to June 2008, 2 768 people were admitted to treatment centres in Gauteng and 1 301 of these admissions was for treatment of alcohol abuse.
"The cost of alcohol consumption can be far greater than the price of a drink. Alcohol use is responsible for increased violence and crime, decreased worker productivity, higher health insurance premiums, and deaths and injuries from drinking-driving crashes. Drinkers alone do not pay these costs — everyone pays the bill" Mahlangu explains.
"The consequences of alcohol abuse affects everyone not only those that drink it. There is a strong association between alcohol consumption and physical assault, communities that have a higher density of liquor stores and bars experience more violent assaults" she says.
The Department of Social Development in conjunction with other stakeholders will embark on campaigns to raise awareness and sensitise communities about the ill effects of drug abuse. The emphasis is on making the youth aware of the dangers of drug abuse to enable them to make informed choices. The service providers in Ekurhuleni will also be mobilised to join hands together and come up with integrated strategies to combat alcohol and drug abuse in the community as stipulated in the National Drug Master Plan.
For information please contact:
Cell: 083 602 6163
Issued by: Department of Health and Social Development, Gauteng Provincial Government
26 June 2009
Source: Department of Health and Social Development, Gauteng Provincial Government (http://www.gpg.gov.za)
Issued by: Gauteng Health
26 Jun 2009
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