Drugs: ‘rotten potatoes’ must be rooted out

SIR Pierre learner Buyiswa Twala says the messages spread on social media by young people should be positive and not make drugs look cool.

HIGH school learners from various schools came together on Friday to discuss the causes and impact of drug abuse among the youth.

Hosted at Sir Pierre Van Ryneveld High Scool, the debate was organised by the Local Drug and Alcohol Committee (LDAC).

Various schools were invited to the event and two learners from each school gave a presentation about drugs and how they affect the youth.

Other schools that were present included Norkem Par High, Rhodesfield Technical High, Global College, Sizwe High and School of Excellence.

Most learners agreed that the main reasons why young people experimented with drugs were family/personal issues, the easy access to drugs and peer pressure.

VARIOUS schools came together to discuss drug abuse among the youth.

“A lot of teenagers come from unstable backgrounds, whether it is abusive families or impoverished backgrounds, which makes it easier for young people to fall into the trap of using drugs,” one of the learners said.

The learners also mentioned that parents relied too much on teachers to discipline their children and that some parents did not have a solid relationship with their children, thus making it difficult to pick up if a child had a drug problem.

The learners suggested participating in extracurricular activities and having counsellors available at school to speak to about personal issues as possible solutions to the problem.

“Every problem has a root cause and substance abuse is no exception. Some young people are perhaps unable to cope with the stress brought on by everyday issues. But each learner’s reasons are unique to them and therefore must be dealt with individually,” a Norkem Park High girl said.

Buyiswa Twala of Sir Pierre raised the point that many of their peers posted about drugs on social media, making it look “cool”.

“The messages we spread on social media as young people also contribute because we make drugs look cool. This is wrong and we need to change that,” Twala said.

Kempton SAPS’s spokesperson, Capt Jethro Mtshali, was invited to speak on behalf of the police and emphasised the importance of giving information to the police.

KEMPTON SAPS’s spokesperson Capt Jethro Mtshali says it is important to identify and root out the bad apples when fighting drug dealing and drug abuse.

“The learners here today raised a point about how easily accessible drugs are to them, and that they know some of the suppliers who sell to schoolchildren. But how will the police catch them if we don’t receive tip-offs from the community?

“Fighting drug abuse should be a partnership between the community and the police. Let us all take ownership of this issue and fight it together,” Mtshali said.

Mtshali said in order to deal with an issue, it was vital to root out the bad apples in society first.

“We need to identify and get rid of the rotten potatoes; that’s how we should deal with issues. If you see policemen allowing drug dealing, report them to us.”

Ward councillor Jaco Terblanche said this kind of debate was vital because drugs were a real problem in the community.

“We constantly need to create awareness around this issue. It is also extremely important to educate the youth on staying away from drugs and drug abuse,” Terblanche said.

At the end of the day the learners signed a pledge to say no to drugs.

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