As South Africa commemorates International Day against Drug Abuse and illict trafficking, the Eastern Cape department of social development used this day to educate and empower the Humansdorp community and surrounding areas.

The area is rife with alcohol and drug abuse. Humansdorp falls in the Sarah Baartman district, which has the highest rate of foetal alcohol syndrome.

The outlook for addiction is not looking good. The South African medical research council has found that 11% of the South African population will suffer from an addiction disorder in their life.

“I do know that we are trying to aware people of drug abuse and our supervisor is showing us how drugs look and how to help other people” said a young person in the area.

“Firstly I think government should invest more in youth, get activities to keep youth active especially on weekend, there is nothing to do here on Saturday,” added another youth.

The Eastern Cape is targeting the youth. Alcohol abuse and dependency is on top of the agenda.

A study by the foundation for alcohol research found that children as young as ten consume alcohol.

“Poverty, unemployment, drop outs which result from poverty children drop out of school, they are not employed, they have no entertainment that is why we have roped in DISRAC, so we can do everything possible, to keep the youth engaged to keep the elders too out of shebeens, but if we tackle the youth we won’t have adults sitting at taverns all day,” said Pumza Dyantyi, Social Development MEC.

Agriculture is a large scale employer in the province. It involves seasonal work which is currently peaking. This leads to increased alcohol abuse as disposable income is increased.

“We experience situations whereby people are having a lot of money and as a result of that we see a lot of substance abuse at this time and as a result of substance abuse, we see young pregnancies and children born with fasd, we help with home schooling, we monitor the homes and if we see there is a big problem we refer them to PE for a special school and rehab help,” said Jaylin_Kay Blouw – Falk of Social Development Program.

The Eastern Cape only has one youth specific substance abuse treatment centre.

The Ernst Malgas centre can host 38 children aged 13 to 18 for a nine week treatment period.