Affecting mostly the youth, drug abuse has indeed become one of the biggest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century, says social development minister Zola Skweyiya.
The Minister made the statement while addressing the National Assembly as part of the International Day Against Substance Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking yesterday.
Quoting research conducted by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) in 2001, the Minister said the abuse of drugs was costing the country an estimated R11-billion per annum
Drug and substance abuse often leads to absenteeism from work which
in turn leads to lower productivity.
If we want to succeed and sustain the fight against this drug
scourge, we need to ensure that it is integrated into our overall
efforts of pushing back the frontiers of poverty, drastic reduction of
unemployment and the fight against HIV /AIDS, he said.
Strengthening the criminal justice system, building awareness about the dangers of drug abuse and giving particular attention to informing and educating the children and youth were some of the ways listed by the minister to solve the problem.
To the youth of our country I want to say: Drug abuse is a
killer. It is a crime. It’s a social ill that often leads to
violence including gang violence, murder, domestic violence, rape, as
well as women and child abuse.
We must stop drug abuse now. Its proliferation must be fought with
vigor, now more than ever before, said the minister.