Substance abuse: victim or suspect?


Kopano Dibakwane

Concerned stakeholders held a substance abuse awareness campaign at Memezile Secondary School in Simile, Sabie, on September 14.

The campaign was aiming to alleviate the rapid increase of substance abuse, particularly amongst learners.

SAPS Spokesperson, Sergeant Mandy Mculu, said in her address that substance abuse is a gateway to criminal activities which eventually lead to jail.

“Drugs and alcohol kill people. We are sure that without substance abuse there’ll be less young people involved in crime. Drug users either become suspects or victims. We are dealing with many cases of suicide in Sabie; our investigations reveal that drugs played a role. You must focus on education, get jobs, get married and have planned babies. The police are there to assist because we work with different stakeholders,” said Mculu.

Stephen Van Der Merwe from Bread of Life Ministries encouraged the young learners to fully appreciate themselves.

“You get addicted once but you face years of suffering. You have the potential to become great.  We have the power to change the future for our generation,” said Van Der Merwe.

The principal, Gift Muthambi, called for parents to play an active role in guiding and disciplining their children. He also called upon parents to pay extra attention to their kids to notice behavioural changes that may lead to drug addiction.

“The school is affected, we’ve had cases of learners injecting themselves with drugs and bringing alcohol to school. This is a serious problem that is raised in all our meetings. Parents should not shift their responsibilities to teachers. It is impossible to educate kids without the involvement of parents. Partnership with SAPS is great, they respond quickly when called to assist with unruly kids,” said Muthambi.

Other speakers included social workers and psychologists from Departments of Social Development and Health. They were accompanied by local Pastor Mohlala and representatives from Retlakgona Youth Development Project, Sabie Victim Empowerment Centre.

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