The Eastern Cape government has called on the public to join it in its fight against substance abuse and illegal trafficking of drugs in the province.
The plea comes just days before the provincial Social Development Department observes the annual International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Port St Johns on June 27.
“Government can’t do this alone. Community participation is essential if we are to get results. The strengthening of Local Drug Action committees assists the province in educating the community about the dangers of substance abuse,” said department spokesperson Gcobani Maswana on Thursday.
Maswana said the department had decided on hosting the event in Port St Johns because drug abuse was at an all-time high among youth in the area.
The department will be visiting the small town to run a number of programmes to create awareness around drug trafficking and the dangers of using drugs, as well as soliciting support from local stakeholders.
“Our Teenagers against Drug Abuse (TADA) staff are out in full force, targeting young people in and out of schools, conducting prevention programmes,” added Maswana.
Efforts to combat drug abuse in the province have seen 240 more TADA groups being established in the last financial year, in addition to the existing 205 groups.
Maswana said another major problem in the province is dagga farming, especially in the former Transkei area. “We are working with stakeholders, communities, NGOs, Provincial Substance Abuse Forums, the Liquor Board and the police to curb this practice.”
SANCA East London head of treatment, Peter McLeod, said if government was serious about combating drug abuse, it had to start with building infrastructure.
“We don’t have a single youth rehab centre in this province,” said McLeod. – Thando Cezula, BuaNews
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