The Magnitude of Drug Abuse in South Africa

South Africa is experiencing a rise in drugs abuse. In recent years the trend in alcohol abuse as well as other drugs has been alarming. Alcohol is still the primary drug of abuse and use is rising every day. In 2011 the world health organization (WHO) reported that South Africa has the highest per capita consumption rates in the world of alcohol in the world and it is quite insane that the rate is continuing to rise. In South Africa the citizens consume in excess of 5 billion litres of alcohol annually but this figure is likely to be higher still if sorghum beer is included, and equates to 9 – 10 litres of pure alcohol per person. Despite alcohol being the primary drug of abuse there are other drugs that are used by the South Africans as well. These drugs include Methaqualone (Quaaludes), cocaine, marijuana popularly known as dagga in South Africa, and heroin are all drugs that are becoming increasingly popular in the cities of South Africa.

There have been drastic political changes in  South Africa  that have been accompanied by social transitioning, rapid modernization, high unemployment rates, and a decline in social, cultural, and family values. As a result, drug use has flourished and new environments, such as night clubs, that promote drug use have been created. These environments appear especially promising for adolescents and young adults looking for an escape. It is in these places that drugs look cool and casual sex is acceptable. Unfortunately, these places are a haven for heavy drug abuse and diseases; such as, HIV and AIDS. Needless to mention, South Africa has become a major country involved in international drug trafficking networks over the past decade. Experts have agreed that it is becoming harder and harder to deal with the explosion of the drug trade and it links are becoming increasingly complex to tame.

South Africa

Here are statistics of the most abused drugs in South Africa over the past years. These statistics are from the World Health Organization (WHO). However there might be some changes on the statistics as the use of drugs of abuse in South Africa is increasing at such a rapid rate.

South Africa drugs of abuse stats according to WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that drug consumption in South Africa is twice the world norm. It is saddening to note that 15% of South Africa’s population has a drug problem. The cost associated with drug abuse is crippling the South Africa’s economy. This is evident as the country spends R20-billion a year and could pose a bigger threat to the country’s future than the Aids pandemic. According to SAPS figures, 60 percent of crimes nationally were related to substance abuse, this shows the cost of drugs of abuse in relation to the social ills they cause. Just as it happens everywhere, addicts will go through all odds to afford the drugs they have become dependent on and crime is the immediate step the youths take to buy their daily dosage of these drugs. In the Western Cape, the figure was closer to 80 percent that shows that Western Cape is the most affected area.  The perpetrators of these crimes are either under the influence of substances, or trying to secure money for their next fix. The use of drugs has also increased prostitution as most of the prostitutes have to sleep with 10-15 men daily to find enough money to buy their drugs of abuse.

 SANAB disbanded

The use of drugs and related crimes have increased greatly, by 30% to be exact after the government disbanded   SA Narcotics Bureau (SANAB) which was  a dedicated drug-fighting unit within the SAPS that had achieved some notable successes. The SANAB was disbanded in 2004 and no other body has sprung to fill the vacuum.

Recently the United Nations World Drug Report had named South Africa as one of the drug capitals of the world. The abuse of alcohol and usage of dagga has led to the country to being one of the top ten narcotics and alcohol abusers in the world. The CDA also reports that one Rand in four in circulation in South Africa is linked to the substance abuse problem. CDA is a drug control organization. The increase in drugs use is also evident in the increase of number of drug arrests from a mere 300 in 2006 to a staggering 1500 in 2012 in Cape Town.

Teenagers are not left out

The CDA reports that alcohol use is common in school kids and most kids who are involved in alcohol abuse are involved in violent crimes 3 times more than kids that are not involved in drug abuse.

South Africa

It also points at the increase in drug use among teens.  As from 1992 – 95 the use of drugs among teenagers increased by 600%. But the figure is still increasing as evident in 2007 when it stood 1100%.  Most kids begin using drugs of abuse at the age of twelve, the CDA report of 2009 revealed that schools have become a target for drug dealers.

A part from alcohol drugs that are widely abused in SA include;

Methamphetamine (Tik)

  • Crack
  • Heroine
  • Cocaine
  • Mandrax
  • Dagga
  • Ecstasy

Finally, We at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center are committed to availing help to addicts by availing some of the most integrative approaches to healing an addict. We advocate for natural healing to all kinds of addiction. Call on Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for help.

The Magnitude of Drug Abuse in South Africa