Peer pressure, low self-esteem, the need to be accepted and dysfunctional families are some of the main reasons for drug abuse. Alcohol abuse is contributed by factors such as social drinking (habit-forming), psychological distress (substance abuse as coping mechanism), boredom and pursuing a lifestyle that the media portrays as desirable. Poverty (escapism) and persistent use of medication (both prescription and over-the-counter) also plays a role.

Definition of addiction:

An addiction is any thinking or behaviour that is habitual, repetitious, and very difficult or impossible to control regardless of the consequences.

There was a time when addictions primarily referred to a dependency on drugs, such as heroin, but the word now has a much broader meaning. The list of addictions has grown: addictions to alcohol, pornography, sex, nicotine, eating, sports, internet games, shopping and the list go on. This website focuses on drug and alcohol related addictions.

Facts and Stats:

Drug consumption in South Africa is twice the world norm (UN World drug report 2009). Statistics have also shown that SA’s population has a drug problem and that our nation is one of the drug capitals of the world.

According to SANCA (SA National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence) 45% of South Africa’s youth experiment with drugs and up to a third end up abusing and become addicted to drugs. It is a fact that drug dealers are targeting younger children (ages 6-14) to get them addicted and also to become pushers (selling drugs). The SA Association for Social Workers in Private Practice (SAASWIPP) estimates that 6-20% of the workforce is likely to be drug-dependent.

Government Statistics 2008

• 50% of school children have experimented with drugs
• 1 in 4 become addicted
• 1 in 6 kids are stealing to support their addiction (Tough Love stats)
• R1 out of every R4 in SA is spent on drugs
• In 2008 it was a R20 billion a year industry
• 60% of national crime relates to substance abuse (80% in Western Cape)

The United Nations is extremely concerned as West Africa and South Africa are the biggest two growth areas in the world today.