CDA’s 3rd National Summit on Substance Abuse, Use and Illicit Trafficking 2023

For many years drugs and substance abuse have held the country’s future at ransom, by drug lords who are destroying the livelihoods of children, teenagers, pregnant mothers and broader society at large.
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BY LINDI XAJI

The opening ceremony for the 3rd National Summit on Substance Abuse, Use and Illicit Trafficking 2023 conference kicked off on the 14th of November 2023, at the Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre.

The national drug master plan is an important part of the tool kit which will assist in reducing drug and substance abuse. This summit must be a breakthrough for many who have been directly and indirectly affected.

Gauteng Premier Mr Panyaza Lesufi’s opening remarks set the tone for the summit and how the
programme for the day should be delivered. He said, “We need to be brutally honest with ourselves as the province so that we can come up with new strategies and solutions to this disease. We are losing the fight against drugs and we need to prioritise the fight as number one.”

The tools required to go to war and fight this disease are through integration, collaboration, and being a united front as a country from the various stakeholders. Who will also hold one another accountable for ensuring that the conference resolutions are achieved.

For many years drugs and substance abuse have held the country’s future at ransom, by drug lords who are destroying the livelihoods of children, teenagers, pregnant mothers and broader society at large. Leaving families and communities in distress. Children as young as 10 years old are addicted to substance abuse.

One of the guest speakers, a mother whose son was also addicted to substance abuse at the age of
16 emphasised the need for adding workshops in addition to the life orientation subject at schools.
Which will focus on informing and creating awareness in children through learning from early on in their school career. An appalling finding was that some of these illegal substances are now sold on the internet, which is easily accessible by the most vulnerable. As well as over-the-counter medicine with codeine as an ingredient.

Unfortunately, the epidemic of drug and substance abuse has a rippling effect on other social ills
which hurt communities such as HIV and AIDS which sometimes get
transferred through the usage of these substance abuse. As well as the gender-based violence
pandemic.

The chairperson of the Central Drug Authority, Ms Nandi Mayathula Khoza mentioned that “we do not want to be doomed as a country, South Africa must be open to learning and collaborating with neighbouring countries.”

The Minister of the Department of Social Development, Hon. Ms Lindiwe Zulu encouraged the
participants to come out of the summit with a clear mind and zeal to work together and share how we can reduce the prevalence of alcohol and substance abuse. “Working together by adopting a multi-sectoral approach, will assist in ensuring that we have a successful summit, characterised by robust engagements, deliberations, and information-sharing sessions.”

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