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Our schools must remain alcohol and drug free

By Lethabo Aphane

Alcohol and drug abuse as I see it today is eating away and destroying young people’s lives.

What is more disturbing is the fact that the people that are selling and encouraging young people to use and sell these drugs in our schools are adults. This is totally unacceptable from where I am standing.

I am encouraged though that the Department of Basic Education, together with the social and law enforcement agencies launched a campaign to ensure schools are drug and alcohol-free zones.

Alcohol and drugs are significant barriers to both teaching and learning. Abuse of these substances has been linked to academic difficulties, absenteeism, and drop-out from schooling thus impacting negatively on the attainment of quality basic education. Drugs are associated with a host of high-risk behaviours including unprotected sex, crime and violence, traffic accidents, and mental and physical.

I am told the campaign targets secondary schools within hotspot areas where alcohol and drug abuse are prevalent. The focus is on learners in Grades 8-10 because of their heightened vulnerability to alcohol and drug abuse during the transition from primary to secondary school.

According to the department, this life stage coincides with the onset of puberty where developmentally, experimentation with risk behaviours increases. In addition, exposure to risk factors such as peer pressure also increases during this transitional period. The strategy focuses largely on the prevention of alcohol and drug use. It creates an enabling environment for those learners who have become addicted to alcohol and drugs to access treatment, care and support services.

As a nation let us all fight and discourage alcohol and drug abuse in our schools, this will destroy the future of our nation. Let’s stay away from drugs and alcohol, PLEASE!!!