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Disease prevention and treatment

What is substance abuse and addictions

Substance abuse is an enormous social problem in South Africa, as elsewhere, and it’s increasing every day.

Alcohol, marijuana (dagga), cocaine, tik and heroin are some of the most frequently used substances in this country, according to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG). Although there is no magic wand when it comes to treating substance abuse and addiction, help is available for patients and their families.

“Given some of the frightening statistics on substance abuse in the country, there is an urgent need to educate people on the dangers and the treatments available.South Africa has no regular representative surveys on substance abuse, which makes it difficult to understand the full extent of the problem. The stats are available only for people admitted for treatment. But we do know that the South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (SACENDU) project, which is an alcohol and other drug (AOD) sentinel surveillance system, and is operational in nine provinces, shows that there was an increase in the number of people admitted for treatment – from 8 787 in 2016, to 10 047 in 2017, across 80 centres.”

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SADAG South Africa


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