Substance abuse remains a huge problem in South Africa and has a serious effect on the physical and mental health of young people, their families and the communities where they live.
Drug abuse has both short and long-term effects on the body. For a growing teenager, the impact can be significant. In young people, regular substance abuse can cause permanent damage to the brain and can lead to a life-long struggle with addiction. Some of the common signs of substance abuse to look out for:
- Sudden disinterest in school, work or social responsibilities.
- Deteriorating physical health, chronic tiredness, or staying up for more hours.
- Secretive behavior and lying.
- Neglected appearance and or hygiene.
- Sudden changes in social network
- Recent financial issues or requests for money.
- Involvement in criminal activity.
- Always hungry.
The Western Cape Government Health’s school health teams play an active role in educating young people about the dangers and effects of drug abuse.
Those affected can also contact the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA) on WhatsApp, 076 535 1701 or call 011 892 3829.