Youth, Drug Abuse and Causes (Part 1)

The National Youth Commission Act, 1996, defines youth as people aged between 14-35 years. According to  Statistics South Africa  ‘’Youth in South Africa constituted 37% of the population in 2010, numbering 19.1 million individuals.’’

There is a rise in drug use by the youth in South Africa. This ranges from the Youth in Schools and economically active population. ”This is a tide that South Africa is struggling with”. Based on the most recent report  received from the SACENDU (South African Epidemiology network on drug use) dated April 2019 , it’s indicated that that the most common primary or secondary drug used by Youth under 20 years  attending specialist treatment centres is cannabis. Treatment admission for alcohol related problems remains less common for Youth under the age of 20 and more common for Youth above 20years old.

These are stats based on people that have gone for treatment. Unfortunately, there are many others that have not received or gone for treatment for many different reasons.

In recent years, much has been learned about the health effects of drug use by the Youth. The health effects of teen drug use can vary, depending on such factors as frequency of use, the kind of drug taken, how much is taken, how quickly it gets into the brain, what other drugs are taken at the same time, the differences in body size and chemistry, the length of time the drugs are used, and other components.

Drugs are readily available to those who choose to use them in either an “experimental” way or to those who are chronic drug abusers.  The consequence of such use, even casual use, can be devastating to both the user, to the user’s family members and society.

On part two(2) of this article ,  we look into ”What are the causes of drug use amongst Youth.”


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