Drug abuse in South Africa is on the increase and one of the best ways to begin the battle to minimise and even eliminate this problem is to create awareness around drug abuse. A good place to start with imparting knowledge regarding abuse of substances in South Africa is to identify which are the top drugs that are being abused.
If you look at the image below this is how desperate people can become and how addicted they get, I know it looks silly but this is the reality many drug abusers face until their money runs out and theft and prostitution kicks in.
This is quite a simple process and all you need to do is think about the name of the first drug that pops into your head when drug abuse is mentioned. More often than not people think of cocaine as one of the top drugs abused and although this is not necessarily the case anymore it is a good place to start in creating awareness around the misuse of substances in South Africa.
Cocaine, is the first of the top drugs abused that people think of because it has been around for so many years. Although this substance only gained prominence in drug abuse in the 80’s it was widely used in tonics as a stimulant long before then. Before that, it was used in its purest form which is the leaf of the coca bush which was chewed by our ancestors meaning that it has been around for over 100 years.
As a stimulant, cocaine provides the user of the substance in South Africa with a feeling of exhilaration while improving mental alertness as well as intensifying sensual stimuli. However, the side effects of this drug can be very dangerous with an over dose even resulting in death. If, like most other top drugs abused cocaine had no side effects, the abuse of this substance would not be so problematic.
Marijuana is probably the highest on the list of top drugs abused but people often dismiss this drug as harmless. Unlike some of the other drug abuse substances, marijuana creates a state of relaxation instead of stimulation. But just like cocaine there are severe long term side effects to using this substance in South Africa.
This type of drug abuse is related to memory loss, learning difficulties, lack of co-ordination, etc. However, marijuana affects individuals in different ways and while in the kick they get from the drug abuse as well as the intensity of the high and the side effects that are experienced. Marijuana in and of itself is not fatal but the state of relaxation can create situations or events where the user can become fatally injured.
The word heroin can strike fear into the hearts of most people when drug abuse is mentioned. This is mainly due to the fact that heroin has one of the highest fatality rates of the top drugs that are abused. A heroin abuser can quickly develop a tolerance to this drug meaning that they need to use more and more of the drug to get the feeling of euphoria they felt the first time they used the substance in South Africa.
This often results in an over dose that can lead to death. Heroin is also notoriously one of the most difficult drug abuse substances to recover from and one of the few that require drugs to assist in recovery. Just like other top drugs abused, heroin has many other side-effects that inhibit normal function, causes illness and can lead to eventual death.
Another frightening fact about s as one of the top abused drugs is that the damage created from the drug abuse is irreversible. Leave the brain looking like Swiss cheese forming holes throughout the brain tissue. This top abused drug is highly addictive and an abuser of this substance in South Africa is easily identifiable due to their extreme weight lost.
SCRC's approach is aimed at facilitating change from the culture of addiction to the culture of recovery.
This process will yield limited success when approached outside of a residential treatment facility particularly when detoxification is required. It is imperative that individuals entering treatment are given as much training and education as possible.
I don' know what I would've done without many of you. Thank you for giving me the gift of life.
I'll never forget SCRC and everyone involved!