Young women and drugs

The Soul City Institute, a social justice organisation that focuses on young women and girls and the communities they live in, commissioned a review on drug and substance abuse among youth and young women in South Africa.

In Rosebank, on 8 November, the review was conducted by Bongiwe Ndondo, an evaluation specialist who is a managing partner at Active Research Development Consulting. Ndondo was joined by Dr David Bayever, a pharmacist and deputy chairperson of the Central Drug Authority, a primary authority whose mandate is to regulate and promote substance abuse legislation.

Dr David Bayever, a pharmacist and deputy chairperson at the Central Drug Authority, talks about possible solutions to substance abuse.

Dr David Bayever, a pharmacist and deputy chairperson at the Central Drug Authority, talks about possible solutions to substance abuse.

According to Ndondo, South Africans are among the top 10 substance abusers in the world and the country takes the top spot on the continent. She said the main drugs abused included dagga, cocaine and tik.

“For every 100 people, we do know that 15 have a [dependency] problem,” explained Ndondo.
“For every R100 that is in circulation, there is data that suggests that R25 is linked to some form of substance abuse.”

In her presentation, Ndondo revealed that there was evidence available which proved the abuse of over the counter and prescription drugs. She explained that even though these were not illegal, their abuse had to be acknowledged.

Touching on some of the determinants of drug abuse, Ndondo said it was important to look at the socio-economic problems presented by this abuse when looking at the extent of the problem. “Often young people get into drugs out of impulsivity. It is usually because of the excitement of the moment and they don’t think about the long-term consequences.”

Dr David Bayever, a pharmacist and deputy chairperson at the Central Drug Authority, with Bongiwe Ndondo, an evaluation specialist and a managing partner at Active Research Development Consulting.

Dr David Bayever, a pharmacist and deputy chairperson at the Central Drug Authority, with Bongiwe Ndondo, an evaluation specialist and a managing partner at Active Research Development Consulting.

She listed some of the determinants as poor self-esteem, short-term goals in life, poor sense of well-being and boredom. “Boredom is associated with dropping out of school which is highly associated with the risk of substance abuse,” she said.

Bayever raised concerns about the number of South African women who were serving jail time around the world for drug trafficking. He said these young girls, who were vulnerable and easily lured, were recruited in schools and tertiary institutions.

“Introducing drugs, including alcohol, when under the age of 25, while the brain and body are still developing may have profound and life-long effects which are often only identified in later years,” said Bayever.

Both Ndondo and Bayever highlighted the limited resources available for treatment of substance abuse, saying more rehabilitation centres and after-care services for addicts were needed.

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  AUTHOR
Lethu Nxumalo

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