Youth Month – How to support a drug addiction free youth

24 June 2019

Research confirms that exposure to hard drugs is increasing in South Africa due to the increased activities of large organised drug cartels and a spike in drug and human trafficking.

Access to Typical Drugs in SA Communities

Marijuana, TIK (Methamphetamine), Buttons (Mandrax-Methacholine), Cat (Meth Cathinone), Heroin, Woonga/Nyope, Acid (LSD), Ecstasy, Cocaine, Magic Mushrooms (Psilocybin) and Crack/Rocks (Cocaine based) are typical drugs used by SA youth.

“Drugs are easily obtainable and cheap in SA, especially in informal settlements. Anyone can have access to drugs if they have access to money. It is available in our schools, in the streets, and even in the workplace. Over-the-counter drugs is a major issue all over the world. Crime is a key driving force for people with no reliable source of income, to get access to money to maintain their drug addiction,” says André Strydom, Continued Care Coordinator at Nurture Health.

Reasons for Drug Addiction

People tend to use drugs for different reasons such as to fit-in, experiment, escape reality, relax, relieve boredom, appear grown up or just to rebel. Their personal circumstances, challenges, where and how they were raised as well as various demographic factors play a role in drug abuse.

How to identify the signs of drug addiction

A person using drugs will tend to exhibit behavioural changes. These changes will reveal their disregard of negative consequences, including:

  • Failing at school/university
  • Losing their job
  • Quarreling with friends
  • Betraying their family’s trust
  • Falling ill
  • Being arrested, just so they can continue using drugs.

Although they may think that they can stop using drugs any time they want to, most often they cannot.

How to Help

Addicted people can only stop any sort of substance abuse if they want help. The first step is for the individual to make that decision. You alone cannot make a friend stop using drugs. If you suspect that someone is using drugs, talk to them:

  • Let them know you care
  • Talk to their parents, teacher, school counsellor or another trusted adult
  • Offer to go with them to their parents or counsellor for help.

Drug abuse can be prevented by maintaining a well-balanced lifestyle with healthy relationships. It is important to learn how to effectively deal with peer pressure and life pressure and be willing to seek help while being open about the situation. 

Need help? Call SANCA at 011-892-3829 or WhatsApp at 076-535-1701 or email at

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