Drug abuse costs SA billions each year

2012-03-21 15:24

Johannesburg - Drug abuse in South Africa amounts to twice the world's norm and costs the country billions each year, the DA said in Mpumalanga on Wednesday.

Drug abuse is costing South Africa R20bn a year, Democratic Alliance MPL Anthony Benadie said during the DA's Human Rights Day Anti-drug march in Middelburg.

The DA demanded that an anti-drug unit be set up within the police since the South African Narcotics Bureau (Sanab) has been closed.

"As with the closing of other Saps specialised units, the closing of Sanab has had a devastating impact on the fight against drug trade and abuse across South Africa," said Benadie.

Drug use affects every community as it has infiltrated every school, he said.

  • Hermanus - 2012-03-21 16:09

    WHAT??? NOT A SINGLE COMMENT IN HERE???...don't you South Africans care about the rising state of drug abuse in your country? This is SHOCKING...and then the very people who are supposed to be protecting you from the drug lords, have closed down the specialist unit targeting them?...what a crazy country this is!!

      goyougoodthing - 2012-03-21 17:11

      I think all drugs should be legalised. I'm not into them but why should others not be allowed? Why make it a flashpoint for crime, prostitution, human trafficking rather than regulating it, taxing it, and making it pure so that people don't consume rat poison etc. People will always do what they want and some people will be drug addicts like some people are pron, alcohol and sports' nuts. Let people be. Take away the mystery and the attraction goes.

      sachasea - 2012-03-23 23:37

      Penn and Teller's Bullsh*t (hugely popular American documentary series) - The War on Drugs

  • sachasea - 2012-03-21 16:27

    It's not that people don't care, but rather because they are disillusioned with the failure of governments worldwide to reduce harms associated with drugs. The War on Drugs is a case in point. How many innocent people have died and continue to die, because drugs are forced into criminal enterprise i.e. the black market? We need to legalize, regulate and tax drugs to the hilt. That way the government can ensure harm reduction, provide treatment to addicts, fund effective education programs and most importantly (to them) make money instead of wasting taxpayers money on this unbeatable war. Crime associated with drugs could be wiped out if they took this approach. But do they have the stomach for it? In doing so they would effectively be admitting that they had the wrong end of the stick for the last 80 years, which most of us now know to be the case anyway.

  • Dirk - 2012-03-21 16:43

    Drug abuse is a choice, people need to take ownership and say NO!!! stop blaming the governments of the world.

      Leslie - 2012-03-21 17:02

      Dirk, my feelings exactly. I am not pro the government, but parents, start taking responsibility for your children. Really, since when is it government's fault that your children are out of control?!

      Shaun Robinson - 2012-03-21 18:06

      @Dirk - Recovering Heroin addict of fourteen years and Dirk you got no clue buddy. Go do some research and then we can chat again...

      Art - 2012-03-21 18:16

      "As with the closing of other Saps specialised units, the closing of Sanab has had a devastating impact on the fight against drug trade and abuse across South Africa," said Benadie." "OK MAAR LEKKER STUPIT" ANC cadre's RUN THE DRUG MARKET IN SA... Minister of UN-INTELLIGENCE's wife, Cheryl Cwele got bust... and he made out he DID NOT KNOW WHAT SHE WAS UPTO... South Africa is a Nation run by the Clowns, whom call themselves HONEST, TRANSPERENT CITIZENS! More like as JOKE!!!!

      Martin - 2012-03-22 08:38

      just say no hahahahahahahahahaha good luck with that.. sup Shaun, ex garbage bin junkie, congrats on the 14 yrs bro

  • sachasea - 2012-03-21 16:52

    Some simple facts: * A rather large majority of people will always feel the need to use drugs, such as heroin, opium, nicotine, amphetamines, alcohol, sugar, or caffeine. * Just as it was impossible to prevent alcohol from being produced and used in the U.S. in the 1920s, so too, it is equally impossible to prevent any of the aforementioned drugs from being produced and widely used by those who desire to do so. * Due to Prohibition (historically proven to be an utter failure at every level), the availability of most of these mood-altering drugs has become so universal and unfettered that in any city of the civilized world, any one of us would be able to procure practically any drug we wish within an hour. * The massive majority of people who use drugs do so recreationally - getting high at the weekend then up for work on a Monday morning. * A small minority of people will always experience drug use as problematic. * Throughout history, the prohibition of any mind-altering substance has always exploded usage rates, overcrowded jails, fueled organized crime, created rampant corruption of law-enforcement - even whole governments, while inducing an incalculable amount of suffering and death. * The involvement of the CIA in running Heroin from Vietnam, Southeast Asia and Afghanistan and Cocaine from Central America has been well documented by the 1989 Kerry Committee report, academic researchers Alfred McCoy and Peter Dale Scott, and the late journalist Gary Webb.

      sachasea - 2012-03-21 16:53

      * It's not even possible to keep drugs out of prisons, but prohibitionists wish to waste hundreds of billions of our money in an utterly futile attempt to keep them off our streets. * Prohibition kills more people and ruins more lives than the prohibited drugs have ever done. * The United States jails a larger percentage of it's own citizens than any other country in the world, including those run by the worst totalitarian regimes, yet it has far higher use/addiction rates than most other countries. * The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-face for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American editor, essayist and philologist.

      John - 2012-03-21 18:06

      A list of fact and stats that you quote. But what about them?? Do you have an opinion? What are these fact meant to mean and how do they affect us in sunny SA? We have a HUGE drug problem with kids... even primary school kids, a huge peer pressure problem. I think it solutions they looking for...

      sachasea - 2012-03-21 18:23

      Yes I have an opinion, which I have stated many times before on News24 articles and will most probably continue to do so many times in the future. My firm belief is that we need a radical overhaul of our laws pertaining to drugs. They should be legalized, all of them, and strictly regulated especially hard drugs like cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine in much the same way that prescription drugs currently are. That would minimize their availability to underage people in particular, but also remove the drugs from the criminal underworld/black market. Carefully controlled sales of these substances would generate a considerable amount of wealth and the government could also ensure that these substances were of the highest quality because pure drugs are far less dangerous than ones which have been adulterated with various other chemicals like rat poison and strychnine, etc. The government could use some of this money to fund better education programs and rehabilitation facilities for those vulnerable people who need them. Basically I opt for changing the issue from a criminal justice to a health based one.

      Martin - 2012-03-22 09:40

      cocaine is even being produced from scratch in greenhouses in south africa, its not even a south american export anymore

  • Henry - 2012-03-21 16:53

    "Drug abuse costs SA billions each year..." So does our government....

      Art - 2012-03-21 17:58

      Henry... they believe it is their RIGHT to plunder the coffers!

      Koos - 2012-03-22 00:20

      I always thought druggies paid for there own sniffs.

  • lynette.hugo - 2012-03-21 16:54

    So let the goverment wake up for once

  • dave.leverton - 2012-03-21 17:14

    And alcohol abuse costs us how much ?

      sachasea - 2012-03-21 17:44

      Hi Dave. Alcohol is a drug, one of the worst in terms of how damaging it is both to an individuals body (frequent use of course) and to society at large. It costs the economy billions through lost days of work alone, just think about all those people who wake up the next day and feel so crap that they can't face going to work and decide to ring in sick or not as the case may be. Alcohol is also the number one drug involved in sexual abuse like rape and in murders too (both premeditated and due to accidents on the roads).

  • lee.ferreira - 2012-03-21 17:24

    I have a son, 40 years old, divorced and living with me. He is addicted to both ganga and gambling! No amount of trying to reason with him has any effect, they simply do not know or want to know how they affect the people around them or themselves, they always find ways to justify what they do!My husband and I are not even on speaking terms because of this anymore, but what do i do, throw him out on the street when he has nowhere else to go??

      Anthony - 2012-03-21 17:35


      goyougoodthing - 2012-03-21 17:46

      Yes, I would kick him out. I've seen this story a few times, your son doesn't respect you so why help him live his problem. Tough love!

      sachasea - 2012-03-21 17:53

      In all likeliness he is unfortunate enough to have an addictive personality. By far the majority of people who use drugs recreationally (and there are millions who use drugs every week) do so without becoming addicts. I am sad to hear about your son, it does sound like it will take some kind of desperate measure/ultimatum for him to want to change his habits, but only he can come to this realization and choose to do something about it. You and your husband must never blame yourself Lee, because it is NOT your fault. You are not to blame for his actions. If drugs users were not automatically persecuted and ignored people like your son could get the help that they need instead of either been thrown in jail or ending up dead somewhere.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-03-21 18:11

      Sasha, I have an addictive personality too, that is why I abstain. Using that as an excuse for causing pain and suffering of family is not an excuse of any merit. Sure if it were legal things would be different and I advocate that, but this guy needs to address the reality that his situation is causing his family. They do not deserve it, nor are they responsible or guilty for another adult's behaviour. I feel for them but tough love brother.

      Garth Baldwin - 2012-03-22 06:21

      I highly recommend that you and your husband go and see a psychologist. Clearly both of you are stuck in this situation without knowing which way to turn..

  • acsteyn - 2012-03-21 17:35

    This is astounding. I really had no idea and I bet a lot of others did not either. This is a disaster and just shows this governments' priorities or lack there of.

  • Alan - 2012-03-21 17:42

    Wow but I do believe the anc(ancer) cost the country even more with their incompetence and blatant corruption.

      John - 2012-03-21 18:10

      And thats going to help the kids on drugs how??

  • Andrew - 2012-03-21 17:56

    Anyone surprised with the Minister of Intelligence's wife involved and the police are you surprised. Run by the police and ANC mafia???

  • John - 2012-03-21 17:59

    You need to be high something to survive in this country...

  • Duncan Thabiso Mphailane - 2012-03-21 18:05

    The effects of drugs and alcohol are the same. I just don't understand the logic behind legalizing one and not the other. I think they should both be legalized or made illegal, whichever benefits the government(because they both don't benefit the society).

  • rory.short1 - 2012-03-21 18:10

    Selebi closed the specialist units down. Either he did it because he was a crook himself and it suited his friends or he was genuinely unaware of our need for them.

  • dave.leverton - 2012-03-21 18:17

    Do the drug mules have anything to do with this .

  • dave.leverton - 2012-03-21 18:38

    How does it cost the country R20 billion a year? Where does that figure come from and what does it mean?

      Gerald - 2012-03-22 15:21

      Opportunity cost. If ive got R1 and i spend it on coke, rather than on a tax-earning job-making what have you...

  • SuleilaT - 2012-03-22 08:39

    It is a shame that people with drug habits cannot get the help they need - it is very difficult for parents to get there children into a rehab if they do not have money or medical aid. My friends son is an addict and because he will not admit he has a problem no rehab will take him. They will have to go court and have him declared unfit - which means they have to hire a lawyer , with no money this is very hard. So the child continues to take drugs and everyone just says if he will not admit he has a problem then what can they do? We took him to JHB Hospital and they turned him away saying "take him home - he must stop taking drugs"...... that was the help they received!!!!

  • brionyl.french - 2012-03-22 08:52

    go look up Richard Bransons speaking to the UK government on this same policy

  • Lauden Kirk - 2012-03-23 07:27

    When I grow up in a shack and see my malema drive a merc when I'm walking in the rain in winter and I finish school at the young age of 18. I still see the malema and the merc I see false hope. I want more dagga to numb the pain I want more jack to gulp so I feel I belong. I want cocaine to feel I'm important.

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