Rising unemployment, poverty blamed for Mpumalanga drug abuse

Rising unemployment, poverty blamed for Mpumalanga drug abuse
HOPELESS: More and more young people in the Mpumalanga province are turning to drugs to escape the reality of poverty and unemployment. PICTURE BY Conmag.

A survey shows that close to 70% of the province’s youth takes drugs.

A youth structure of the Democratic Alliance in Mpumalanga has blamed the province’s rising youth unemployment for the scourge of drug abuse.

The party is now calling on government to take a more serious stand against the problem, saying this can be done by first cleaning the schools of drugs.

DA Youth provincial leader Palesa Mobango said they have now launched a petition calling on the department of education to fight drugs by all means and work closely with the cops.

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She said a latest survey shows that youth unemployment in Mpumalanga sits at 41.5% and it was these high figures that were a cause for concern.

She said during a recent discussion with officials at the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, they became concerned that the increasing unemployment rate “could be fuelling the youth towards drugs and substance abuse”.

“Given these high levels of unemployment, many of the province’s youth are now turning towards drugs and criminal activities,” Mobango said.

Rising unemployment, poverty blamed for Mpumalanga drug abuse

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Mobango said areas like Middelburg, Delmas, eMalahleni and Ermelo were just some of the areas in the province where the abuse of drugs was alarmingly on the rise.

The Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence said 67% of youth in the province tested positive for Tik, Nyaope and Dagga and most of these were languishing in unemployed in the townships.

Mobango says they are also concerned that:

• There is a long waiting list at the Council’s facilities for people wishing to be assisted to quit substance abuse.

• There was no more help for those who have to go back to their homes after being helped quit.

“We hope that our petition will encourage Premier Refilwe Mtsweni and her government to urgently address drug abuse amongst the youth, especially in schools before even more youth lose their futures to drugs,” she said.

“This ANC-led government must do more to ensure that schools are kept drug-free, and that employment opportunities are availed to the youth in order to alleviate youth unemployment,” Mobango said.

(edited by MLM)

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