The drug problem in South Africa has been on a continual rise, especially in the last few years. Meth, cocaine, marijuana, and heroin are all drugs that are becoming increasingly popular.
A study was conducted by SABC which revealed that close to 10% of the population started experimenting with drugs at the age of 13. The main drugs abused by South Africans are cannabis often known as dagga but we also have a problem of cocaine and tik.
David Bayever, a pharmacology lecturer at the University of Witwatersrand was quoted as saying “15 % of South Africans have a drug problem and this figure is expected to rise”.
We take a look at *Bernard’s story. In 2008, at the age of 17 Bernard had to drop out of school because it was proving to be a financial strain on his mother. This left him feeling depressed and realizing that he had to grow up faster than most of his peers. His peer were already smoking heroin and they seemed to be content so, he joined them. “I wanted to be happy and carefree for once, I wanted to have the same feelings they had about life,” said Bernard. “Smoking helped me forget about my problems, and took me to a place of zen. Before I knew it I was depended on it to get through the day”.
By the time he was 19 he was smoking at least five to six times a day, he found that he couldn’t live without the drug. He began doing petty crimes to be able to feed his addiction. He was arrested for housebreaking and pickpocketing, where he spent six months in prison. That however did not help him fight his addiction, he was hospitalized after his release because he had overdosed.
Bernard still struggles with his addiction and hasn’t gotten the help he needs to fight it.