Drug and alcohol abuse take a toll on thousands of South Africans every day. Not only is it on the increase but it is a big social problem that places users at risk of other diseases.

According the SA Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Abuse (SACENDU), an organisation that monitors alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse treatment admissions in South Africa,

Alcohol remains a dominant substance of use in most parts of South Africa. Alcohol also caused the biggest burden of harm in terms of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

In its report entitled “April 2019 Phase 44 – Monitoring alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse treatment admissions in South Africa”, the organisation mentions that apart from alcohol, the use of different drugs in South Africa is widespread.

For instance, at the time of reporting:

  • Cannabis was the most common illicit drug used, especially among youth attending specialist treatment
  • Methamphetamine (MA) was the most common primary drug reported by patients in the Western Cape
  • The proportion of admissions for cocaine was fairly low and stable across all Provinces. Cocaine was mostly reported as a secondary drug.
  • Heroin use was a problem across most Provinces
  • Club drugs and Over the Counter (OTC) and Prescription medicines were still more common as secondary substances of use.

It goes further to mention that across all Provinces, patients being admitted for substance abuse had underlying disease conditions, with 16% having more than one underlying condition. The majority of patients reported mental health problems at the time of admission (49%), followed by hypertension (19%) and diabetes (7%). The statistics in this regard varied according to Province.

SAMWUMED help for Substance Abuse & Addiction Sufferers

SAMWUMED members and their dependencies can get treatment including hospitalisation for substance abuse and addiction. To read more about the benefit, click here.

22-28 June will mark SANCA Drug Awareness Week, incorporating International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on 26 June.