Drugs continue to cripple most families in certain communities.

One mother who wanted to remain anonymous, in the Newcastle community spoke of her painful experience.
“I have had a problem with my son who’s taking drugs for a while now. It has become such a problem, that I am not sure who to turn to. I am calling you because I firmly believe my son is taking drugs and he would do anything to get his next fix for the drugs. He would even steal from our house. It feels I work to only feed his drug addiction. It has become so bad I am afraid of what the future holds for my life and his.”

Reports indicate many youth in the country are often introduced to drugs through their peers. Young people also easily drift into drugs, alcohol and gang life especially those living in low income areas where unemployment and crime is also high.
A recovering drug addict in the Osizweni area, shared his experience, “Sister, once you understand our story and where we come from, maybe we wouldn’t be judged so much. I understand your thoughts, saying getting into drugs is a choice. But that is not always the case. I have lost both my parents, I have a little family here with these guys I spend my time with. Sometimes I regret getting into the habit, but at times it’s the only way I can escape my reality. I am trying to keep clean now, but even that has its challenges. It is not easy habit to quit or get out of. I hope I can reach a day where I can finally say I am over this life, it is coming but the process is hard.”

South African National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence (SANCA) Social Worker, Mrs PM Madela, said they have a support group for addicts who want to kick the habit. Madela said it is always better if the addict is willing to change, as they sometimes struggle with unwilling addicts, “When a drug addict comes to our centre, we do urine tests to check what exactly is in their system, we than provide counselling for individuals or families.

“We find it is more workable if we have a willing addict, someone who wants to change and not be controlled by the drug habit. With someone who is forced, it can be tricky, because they can try for a few days only to go back to the drug, although no case is a lost case.” Mrs Madela said in a severe case, addicts can be referred to one of the two rehabilitation centres in Madadeni, or sometimes go as far as Pietermaritzburg or Durban.

Studies have shown that prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications, to street drugs and alcohol, essentially any drug can be abused. Whereas illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine are abused any time they are used. Prescription drugs are abused whenever they are used in a manner other than is intended. Many risky behaviours that lead to drug abuse is predicted to start during early adolescence, including aggressive behaviour, inadequate parental supervision, easy access to drugs, and living at or below the poverty level. Psychologists and social workers believe you can quit the drug habit and start a new life filled with hope and courage. They believe it is never too late to build the kind of life you are passionate about.

To speak to someone, you can contact the SANCA centre on 034 312 3641, they are open Monday – Friday, from 8am to 4pm.