Pretoria – As the world commemorates International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, President Jacob Zuma has called on children and young people to refrain from alcohol and drug abuse.
In a statement on Sunday, President Zuma also appealed to those who are already addicted to seek treatment.
“The abuse of drugs is threatening to destroy many families. Some parents live in fear of their children who terrorise them and neighbours, due to the abuse of nyaope, whoonga, cocaine, heroin and other drugs.
“We appeal to our youth to say no to drugs. Those who are already addicted should seek treatment,” said the President, adding that government is building treatment centres in every province to make treatment accessible.
Indications are that between 7.5% and 31 percent of South Africans have an alcohol problem or are at risk. On drugs, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report of 2014 indicated that more than 270 000 South African citizens were defined as problem drug users.
President Zuma thanked those young people that have sought treatment.
The report from the South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use indicates that the number of young people that received treatment between January and June 2015 was at 3677 in Gauteng for people aged ten to 39.
The number of people in the Western Cape who received treatment between the same months was at 2869, while the number in Limpopo and Mpumalanga was at 93. In the Eastern Cape the number is at 290.
“We urge parents and communities to encourage more drug users to seek help. We also welcome and support the campaign by the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) against alcohol abuse and the wearing of school uniforms in taverns,” said President Zuma.
He added that local authorities should not grant liquor licences to outlets that sell liquor to school children, or who operate near schools who want to target targeting schoolchildren as customers.
“We also urge communities to report drug lords and drug peddlers so that they can be stopped from destroying our children,” said the President.
In his message to all member states of the United Nations, the UN Secretary General Mr Ban Ki Moon said: “On this International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, I call on countries and communities to continue to improve the lives of everyone blighted by drug abuse by integrating security and public safety with a heightened focus on health, human rights, and sustainable development.”
International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is commemorated under the theme “Listen First”.