The Inkatha Freedom Party is alarmed about new and dangerous drugs that are easily available to the youth in suburbs around Durban, especially Merebank and Wentworth.
Recently a new, synthetic drug is alleged to have made its way into schools in the Durban south area. The drug known as “WIZ” can be bought legally over the counter at most shops that sell tobacco, however according to the warning on the packet, it is not fit for human consumption. Reports from the area indicate that school pupils are mixing cough mixtures, pain tablets and cool drinks to make a drink that give them a high. Since cough mixture contains codeine, this mixture can be a deadly concoction which has already seen pupils being hospitalised.
KwaZulu-Natal is sitting on a silent substance time bomb as a result of the drug abuse epidemic, which if left unchecked, is likely to hit very critical levels. We are fighting against time to stem this scourge that is tearing families and communities apart. We are of the view that drug and substance abuse among KZN youth should be treated as a provincial disaster. The easy availability of drugs is destroying young people as many no longer focus on their studies, leading to an increase in the school drop-out rate.
The IFP proposes that anti-drug education should form an integral part of the regular school curriculum. Supplying youth with information early in life may determine the trend of drug abuse in the future. It has been said that it is much easier to influence attitudes than to influence behaviour.
The IFP is of the view that collection of drug data is essential for policy formulation and for drawing up programmes to reduce demand for drugs. No meaningful programmes can be set up without proper data. Data should be continually collected from health institutions, schools, the general population and law enforcement agencies, in order to produce annual reports identifying trends.
The IFP further believes that interdisciplinary and departmental collaboration is critical. Officials working in sectors such as health services, education, law enforcement and social development should collaborate in order to minimize compartmentalization and fragmentation of efforts. Collective responsibility is the key to dealing with drug problems.
The IFP further believes that pupils can help the police in combating crimes caused by the use of drugs. Young people are key resources in drug use prevention and they should be made change agents in prevention programmes. When financial resources are scarce it is even more important to mobilize human resources.
Hon Les Govender MPL
IFP KZN Spokesperson on Social Development
083 9744 894