As part of this year’s Youth Month activities, the Department of Social Development, in partnership with the Central Drug Authority (CDA), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Non-Governmental Organisations, will commemorate the annual Drug Awareness Week from 22-26 June 2020. The objective of the Drug Awareness Week is to educate the public, and young people in particular, about the dangers and consequences of substance abuse for a drug-free South Africa. Every South African has a role to play in creating greater awareness about the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse, which has reached unprecedented levels. Once thought to only be a “township problem”, substance abuse and related crimes are now a serious national concern, with the emergence and easy availability of designer drugs such as nyaope and whoonga reaching rural areas. Added to this, the Constitutional Court decriminalised the use of cannabis/marijuana for private use by adults. However, laws restricting the use of cannabis in public, including buying and selling, remain in place. By raising awareness, the Department and its partners hope to rally more young people and discourage them from experimenting with drugs in the first place while assisting substance users to get treatment for long term recovery. Key amongst others, the activities of the week are focused on preventing underage drinking and illicit drug use. The Deputy Minister of Social Development, Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, will kick-off the week-long activities on Tuesday, 23 June 2020 with a visit to Dr Fabian and Florence Ribeiro Treatment Centre in Cullinan – East of Pretoria. The centre provides treatment, rehabilitation, reintegration and recovery support services to recovering substance users. On the same day, the Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu will host a webinar and dialogue with youth across the country to discuss how they can effect positive change to end violence against women and girls in South Africa. Through this dialogue, young people will be challenged to confront social norms and values, harmful gender norms, gender discrimination, toxic masculine identities, stereotypes and underlying attitudes that perpetuate violence against women and girls. The dialogue will also explore the link between substance abuse and violent crimes, including violence against women and girls. The link between intimate partner violence and substance abuse is confirmed by a number of studies, including the ones conducted by the World Health Organisation in South Africa which found that alcohol use increases the occurrence and severity of intimate-partner violence. The Drug Awareness Week will culminate into the virtual commemoration of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on 26 June 2020 under the theme: “Value yourself and make healthy choices against alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse to minimize the spread of COVID-19”.By resolution 42/112 of 7 December 1987, the United Nations General Assembly designated 26 June as the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking to strengthen international action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drugs. South Africa’s approach to substance abuse is enshrined in the National Drug Master Plan (NMDP), a national blueprint to combat drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking and mitigate its negative consequences to South African society.The NDMP is a five-year programme of action focusing on demand reduction, supply reduction and harm reduction strategies in the general population, in particular on youth and those who are high-risk and vulnerable groups. The NDMP is premised on the understanding that the scale of drug abuse and illicit trafficking in South Africa requires the mobilisation and the resolve of all key sectors of society and local communities. The NDMP is key to the implementation of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act (Act No. 70 of 2008), which mandates the Department of Social Development to develop programmes and support initiatives aimed at the prevention and treatment of substance abuse.Recently, Cabinet approved the National Drug Master Plan for the period 2019-2024.The Department has focused on expanding free access to public facilities, particularly in provinces such as Eastern Cape, Free State, Northern Cape and North West where there was none before. Treatment in private treatment centres is unaffordable for many substance users and their families as it can cost anything between R3 000- R30 000 or even more. There is now at least one public drug treatment centre in each province. These centres render treatment, rehabilitation and aftercare services to substance users with the purpose of ensuring full reintegration into families and communities.
MEDIA AND PUBLIC PARTICIPATION DETAILS: Members of the media interested in participating in the Youth GBV Webinar for the commemoration of the Drug Awareness Week can contact Ms Nomfundo Xulu-Lentsoane on 066 480 6845 and e-mail: NomfundoLe@dsd.gov.za Date: Tuesday, 23 June 2020Time: 11am. Link: https://eventslive.africa/register/DSD22
Members of the media interested in covering Deputy Minister Bogopane-Zulu’s visit to Dr Fabian and Florence Ribeiro Treatment Center can contact Ms Makhosazana Mavuso on 072 732 9381 and e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Tuesday, 23 June 2020Time: 11am Venue: Dr Fabian & Florence Ribeiro Treatment Center, Zonderwater Road,Cullinan
ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT Media inquiries may be forwarded to Ms Lumka Oliphant on 083 484 8067 or e-mail: LumkaO@dsd.gov.za