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Red Flag Alert: Alarming Rise in W Cape Youngsters Seeking Treatment for Cannabis

W Cape Social Development MEC says Coloured and Black Youth More at Risk

Western Cape Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez says there has been a rise in young people seeking treatment for cannabis use. She told the provincial legislature that in both the private and public youth-care facilities, 60% of patients aged under 20 were treated for cannabis use.

IOL reported that Fernandez, who based her data on the latest South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (SACENDU) report, said the trend was particularly prevalent in Coloured and Black communities in the Cape.  She said the study also showed a slight increase in alcohol use among Coloured patients and a decline in methamphetamine use. 

The data was collected from 34 treatment centres for patients younger than 20 who access treatment in the Western Cape.

Men are prevalent substance abusers, alcohol also on increase

The report said although men dominated the list of patients for all substances, there had been an increase in women patients admitted for alcohol use.

Fernandez said: “There was also a significant increase from 23%-60% that were admitted for treatment and 21% of patients 20 years and younger were treated for methamphetamine (tik) use.”

She said 48% of patients in the age group were referred to treatment centres, either of their own accord or by family and friends. Referrals by schools stood at 32% and referrals by social service/welfare at 11%.

Fernandez was responding in writing to a query from provincial ANC social development spokesperson Gladys Bakubaku-Vos about the prevalence of drugs and substance abuse among young people in the province and the number of drug rehabilitation centres that are privately owned and those funded by the department

Fernandez said there were 22 privately owned treatment centres and six departmental funded in-patient treatment centres in the province

The six are the Toevlug Centre for Substance Use Disorders; The Salvation Army Hesketh King; the Ramot Treatment Centre; Keep the Dream (Namaqua Treatment Centre); the Saartjie Baartman Centre; and the Tehillah Community Collaborative.

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